Turin

Turinßcourtßseizesß2.2ßmnßeurosßofßassets in fraud probe

InvestigationßintoßEU-fundedßprogramßensnaresß140ßpeople

Turinßcourtßseizesß2.2ßmnßeurosßofßassets in fraud probe

Turin, February 4 - A Turin judge on Monday ordered the seizure of 2.2 million euros' worth of assets in a fraud probe into alleged misuse of European Union development funding in the region of Piedmont. Turin financial police investigated 140 people for fraudulently inflating invoices to increase public grants from Turin public funding company Finpiemonte. Under an EU-backed matching-funds programme, qualified companies in certain areas of the region could receive 50% of the cost of creating a website. Investigators allege that businesses inflated invoices by a factor of two or more - often with the complicity of website providers - in order to cover the entire cost of their sites with public funds. In some cases suspects allegedly made a profit, collecting more than the entire cost of their sites. In addition, investigators allegedly found that some businesses falsified their locations in order to appear to be from areas targeted for the development initiative. The case is currently being reviewed by the Audit Court to determine responsibility for the erroneous release of public funds. Businesses are also being investigated for tax evasion in the case.

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