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Massive €600M EU Fraud: Rolexes, Lamborghinis, and AI Seized in International Police Raid

EU police conducted a massive raid against an organized crime group suspected of defrauding €600 million from the EU's Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) for Italy.
Over 20 suspects were arrested in Italy, Austria, Romania, and Slovakia.

The group used advanced technologies, including AI, to produce false documents for laundering cash.

Seized assets included Rolexes, gold and jewelry, cryptocurrency, luxury cars (Lamborghini, Porsche, Audi Q8), apartments, and villas.

Italy, the largest recipient of the EU's post-Covid economic recovery fund, is under investigation for a suspected fraud case involving €191.5 billion in grants and loans.

A criminal association, including professionals with experience in securing public funding, allegedly carried out the fraud by securing cash for non-existent or inflated projects.

The group laundered illicit profits through a network of fictitious companies in Italy and other European countries, using advanced technologies like cloud servers, cryptoassets, and AI to produce false documents.

The Italian financial police are investigating the case and have identified suspicious transactions.

Criminal organizations in Europe have shifted from traditional crime methods to defrauding EU funds for development and reconstruction.

This trend has been ongoing for over a decade and has resulted in a significant increase in fraud investigations.

The European Public Prosecutor's Office reported over 200 investigations in 2023 related to the EU's €800 billion recovery fund.

Law enforcement agencies in Slovakia, Romania, and Austria are involved in Thursday's operations to combat this issue.

In 2022, there were only 15 fraud investigations related to the European Union's recovery fund in its early stages.

Now, these investigations make up around 15% of all fraud probes handled by the European Public Prosecution Office (EPPO).

Italy is under close scrutiny for its management of the recovery fund, with 179 ongoing investigations.

Fraudsters are creating fake companies or bribing public officials in nearly a quarter of the cases under investigation across the EU.
Translation:
Translated by AI
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