Saturday 25 November 2017

Duo jailed in Italy for milk fraud

Caitriona Murphy

Caitriona Murphy

Two men have been sentenced to jail in Italy for their involvement in a €20m milk quota fraud.

The men were given prison terms of three and a half years each at the court of Pordenone, Italy for evading milk quota levies.

Milk quota fraud schemes are a major problem in Italy, where more than €100m in milk levies were evaded between 1998 and 2006.

The fraud scheme involved a network of companies with the sole purpose of simulating commercial operations of sale and purchase of milk in order to evade superlevy bills.

On paper, the sale seems to involve the co-ops and dairies, but in practice it takes place directly between the producers and the dairies. This way, the producers are able to sell their extra-quota milk to the dairies without paying the superlevy.

It is understood that some of the people involved in the Pordenone fraud scheme were previously prosecuted in a similar case in Saluzzo.

Around €16m worth of assets belonging to the two suspects were frozen during a pre-trial investigation and the assets were subsequently confiscated following the Italian Supreme Court decision.

The European Anti-Fraud Office provided legal assistance to the Italian financial police who carried out the investigation.

Irish Independent

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