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Energy efficiency funds fraudsters deactivated in Italy

Christian Fernsby |
The Italian Financial Corps (Guardia di Finanza), the German Duisburg Police (Polizei Duisburg) and the Swiss Police of the Canton of Lucerne (Kantonspolizei Luzern), supported by Europol and Eurojust, dismantled a criminal network involved in fraud with public funds.

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The fraud was perpetrated through the use of so called ‘white’ energy efficiency certificates, with criminals then laundering the illicit proceeds.

Between 2016 and 2020, the criminal network illegally obtained certifications for energy efficiency (“white” certificates), while receiving subsidies through fictitious projects.

The so called TEE certificates are attributed for energy efficiency by the national Italian regulators. The suspects used fake invoices as support documents, while requesting subsidies from the Italian authorities.

In total, the criminal network illegally obtained about €27 million in subsidies from nationally distributed funds. Then, they transferred the illicit proceeds to bank accounts in Germany, Switzerland and other European countries.

The payments were made based on fictitious invoices, purporting to show transactions such as the acquisition of solar panels. The criminal profits were then withdrawn and the cash transported back to Italy, while a percentage went to an affiliated money laundering network.

The suspects used that scheme to launder more than €14 million. Investigators identified 113 individuals suspected to be involved in this criminal scheme.

During the action day, Europol provided real time analytical support from its headquarters, cross checking operational information against Europol’s databases and thus providing leads to investigators in the field. Europol also deployed two forensic experts to Germany to provide technical support to investigators from the national authorities.

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