Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway have asked Slovakia to return back more than €660,000 received from the Norwegian Financial Mechanism and European Economic Area (EEA) Financial Mechanism due to fraud that has been uncovered involving a Slovak project.
The purpose of the project was to construct a multi-purpose sports complex in Senec (Bratislava Region) – to make sporting activities more available to local children and young people. As the EEA and Norwegian funds employ zero tolerance policies, all projects are closely monitored and sanctions are imposed at the slightest hint of wrongdoing.
The fraud was revealed thanks to a counterfeit bank statement. "The recipient submitted a bank statement to a Government Office that turned out to be fictitious," the TASR newswire learned from Government Office press department on Monday, September 3. In cooperation with the Office for the Fight Against Corruption, the authorities compared the submitted statement with original bank records and discovered that some €62,000, which was supposed to be transferred to the supplier, were withdrawn in cash instead.
Although the remaining money was used for its official purpose, the donor countries are demanding the full sum of €668,000 to be repaid. Therefore, due to the €62,000 fraud, the football club will have to return some €786,000 - €118,000 of which was provided by the state. A criminal investigation into the alleged fraud has been launched.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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