The European Anti-Fraud Office, commonly known as OLAF, has confirmed opening “a selection” into the alleged fraud and mismanagement of EU funds and agriculture subsidies in Slovakia, the Politico website reported on March 28.
A selection is the preliminary assessment to see if there are grounds to open a full investigation.
The website mentions that irregularities in the use of EU funds were uncovered by the murdered Slovak journalist Ján Kuciak, who in his last story was investigating ties between the Italian mafia and Slovak politicians and business.
“OLAF is currently assessing all the available information and allegations that have surfaced in the last weeks, in order to establish whether or not the conditions for opening an investigation in accordance with OLAF’s mandate are met,” a spokesperson said in a statement, as quoted by Politico.
A group of MEPs representing the Green faction wrote to OLAF earlier in March, demanding an investigation into the alleged misuse of EU funds, particularly by the Slovak Agriculture Paying Agency (PPA), according to the website.
“There is a potentially systemic misuse of EU funds in Slovakia,” MEPs said in the letter, as quoted by Politico. “We are very concerned that EU funds and agriculture subsidies could be siphoned off to fund criminal activities. We therefore ask the European Anti-Fraud Office to investigate these allegations and make sure that any abuse is brought to an end.”Minister Matečná points to serious agricultural subsidy fraud suspicions Read more
Meanwhile, the PPA filed a criminal motion due to suspicions of fraud when drawing agricultural subsidies by the Agro-Porúbka company, owned by former Smer MP Ľubica Rošková. Agriculture Minister Gabriela Matečná (nominee of the Slovak National Party) told the March 27 press conference that the case probably involves subsidy fraud.