The European Public Prosecutor’s Office (Eppo) has just three active investigations involving Cyprus, the attorney-general’s office said Monday, adding that this fact “fully vindicates” its own position.
In a statement citing the recently released Eppo annual report for 2021 (https://www.eppo.europa.eu/sites/default/files/2022-03/EPPO_Annual_Report_2021.pdf), the AG’s office said only three criminal offence cases involving fraud and corruption relating to the island are currently under investigation.
This, it added, represents a tiny fraction of the 515 total active or open Eppo investigations across the EU.
The estimated damages from the three active investigations involving Cyprus comes to €1.5 million – compared to the estimated €5.4 billion in estimated damages from all cases under investigation across the 27-member bloc.
The Eppo is the independent public prosecution office of the European Union, responsible for investigating, prosecuting and bringing to judgment crimes against the financial interests of the EU. These include several types of fraud, cross-border VAT fraud with damages above €10 million, money laundering, and corruption.
The attorney-general’s office said that, in general, at no time were more than four cases involving Cyprus under investigation by the Eppo.
These findings, the AG stressed, represent a “vindication” of its own position, as expressed back in January 2021. At the time, the AG had challenged a reference made by the Eppo, to the effect that cases involving the Republic of Cyprus were so numerous that they were expected to account for 10 per cent of all cases across the EU.
Citing the Eppo’s latest annual report, the AG said only two other EU countries had fewer active investigations than Cyprus. Malta had no active or open investigations, while Luxembourg had just one. Slovenia had three.
The Eppo report shows that of the three open investigations involving Cyprus, two are new cases, and one is an old case.
The AG’s office said also that Cyprus’ European Delegated Prosecutor (EPP) continues to work with the Luxembourg-based Eppo.
According to the 2021 Eppo report, the highest number of open investigations involves Italy (120 cases), followed by Bulgaria(105) and Romania (60).
There were 18 open investigations against Greece.
According to the Eppo website, the body “undertakes investigations, carries out acts of prosecution and exercises the functions of prosecutor in the competent courts of the participating Member States, until the case has been finally disposed of.”
Members of the public are able to report crime to the Eppo using the special web form.
The financial interests of the EU are defined as “all revenues, expenditures and assets covered by, acquired through, or due to the European Union budget and the budgets of the institutions, bodies, offices and agencies established under the Treaties, and budgets managed and monitored by them.”
The European Public Prosecutor’s office works hand-in-hand with other EU bodies and institutions in its activities. Working arrangements have been established with, among others: European Anti-Fraud Office (Olaf), Eurojust, Europol, European Court of Auditors, and the European Commission.
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