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14 June, 2024
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Politico: Greek companies under scrutiny in EU fund fraud probe

Greece grapples with allegations of EU fund mismanagement


Greek authorities, alongside the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO), are delving into allegations of fraud concerning the allocation of €2.5 billion in EU funds to just 10 companies in Greece.

According to a report on Politico, last month, the offices of three telecommunications firms—Cosmote, Vodafone, and Nova—were among those raided by investigators from the Greek competition commission. The probe, shedding light on potential collusion in public tender processes, casts a shadow over the credibility of the EU's post-pandemic economic recovery fund.

The investigation centers on suspicions that companies conspired to limit competition for contracts, possibly inflating fees and preventing taxpayers from maximizing the benefits of EU funding. Greece, a significant beneficiary of the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), earmarked around €35.95 billion for projects, with a fifth dedicated to digital initiatives. However, concerns linger over how contracts were awarded, prompting scrutiny from both Greek and EU authorities.

Vodafone confirmed the investigation, while other companies remained silent on the matter. The Greek competition commission is examining potential violations of EU antitrust laws, as allegations swirl around irregularities in tender processes. Notably, the EPPO has requested evidence from Greek authorities, indicating a broadening scope of the investigation.

Beyond Greece, questions loom over the distribution of EU recovery funds across the bloc, with OLAF investigating suspected fraud in various member states. In Greece, issues with public procurement practices persist despite past reforms, fueling criticisms of opaque processes and favoritism towards certain companies.

Concerns deepen as data reveals a significant portion of contracts awarded to a handful of companies without competitive bidding. The complaint filed by European Dynamics underscores the need for thorough investigation into potential bid-rigging practices, amplifying calls for transparency and accountability in the allocation of EU funds.

As the investigation unfolds, the spotlight remains on Greece's handling of EU funds, highlighting broader challenges in ensuring fair and efficient distribution of resources to foster economic recovery and resilience.

[With information sourced from Politico]

Cyprus  |  Greece  |  EU

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