Bo­gus re­search projects probed

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

The Euro­pean Union has launched an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into a net­work ac­cused of ob­tain­ing mil­lions of eu­ros from the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion for fake re­search projects in seven coun­tries in­clud­ing Greece, re­ports said yes­ter­day.

OLAF, the EU’s anti-fraud watch­dog, is said to be work­ing with Ital­ian authorities to pur­sue a large net­work of scam­mers that has al­legedly grabbed more than 50 mil­lion eu­ros in grants. It is ac­cused of fal­si­fy­ing grant ap­pli­ca­tions, in­flat­ing costs, and claim­ing money for projects that never ma­te­ri­al­ized. Some 22 projects have been frozen as authorities con­tinue in­ves­ti­ga­tions also in France, Bri­tain, Aus­tria, Swe­den, Slove­nia, and Poland, ac­cord­ing to the Na­ture jour­nal.

“The projects were ap­par­ently or­ga­nized with the sole in­ten­tion [of de­ceiv­ing] the Com­mis­sion and its con­trol mech­a­nisms,” David Bou­blil, a spokesman for the Com­mis­sion, told the jour­nal. “We don’t have any records of [pre­vi­ous] fraud at such a scale,” he said. The Com­mis­sion has al­ready re­cov­ered 10 mil­lion eu­ros awarded to bo­gus projects.

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