Rome, July 29 - An Italian government agency began procedures to recoup 179 million euros of European Union agricultural subsidies illicitly received by farmers over the last 10 years, the Italian Audit Court announced on Monday. Investigators found an ''elevated'' number of farmers who received funds through ''deception, trickery or fraudulent behavior'' and through making ''false declarations''. Sixty percent of Italy's regions were involved, but nearly all of the farmers were located in southern Italy, the statement said. Forty-three percent of the false subsidy claims were concentrated in Sicily and in Campania, the region surrounding Naples. The funds are to be recouped by Italy's agency for distributing agricultural subsidies, AGEA.