Spanish farmer used EU agriculture subsidies to build racing track
Agricultural subsidies are among the highest the EU gives out, and one Spanish farmer used his to convert a fields into a track for racing motorbikes.
"Many of the errors found by our audit derived from the presentation of inexact claims that were by beneficiaries, the most common of these being the overstatement of agricultural land or plots of land that are inadmissable," the EU body said in a statement accompanying the report.
The European Court of Auditors used a case from Spain as an example of an "inadmissable" claim.
"In Spain someone was paid subsidies for a plot of land declared and registered by the land-parcel identification system as arable land when in fact it was a motocross track," the ECA said.
The ECA did not reveal the name of the farmer but said the land was located in the region of Castilla-La Mancha, in central Spain.
And the ECA revealed that the problem of mis-classifying land as arable when it is in fact used for other purposes is not confined to Spain; cases have also been recorded in Germany, Denmark, the Czech Republic, France, Italy, Slovakia and the United Kingdom.
Another common fraud that Spain has been caught up in is claiming subsidies for breeding cattle. ■