On 14th May the PJ and the Tax Authority undertook searches in the Greater Porto area, in a mega-operation involving suspicions of crimes related to fraud in obtaining community subsidies

The operation, known as the “Final Deadline”, was the result of an investigation into money laundering, tax fraud, fraudulent insolvency and fraud in obtaining EU subsidies – through the Agency of Development and Cohesion (ADC).

The operation involved inspectors of the PJ and the Tax Authority, and magistrates of the Public Prosecution Service. The searches took place in the Greater Porto area.

The PJ stated that this operation, which involved the participation of about 70 investigators of the Northern Judicial Police Board and tax inspectors of the Port Authority of the Tax Authority, 22 home searches were carried out, seven persons, aged between 25 and 50 years old, were detained in the municipalities of Paredes, Paços de Ferreira, Vila Nova de Gaia, Vila do Conde, Santa Maria da Feira and Matosinhos, and are strongly suspected of these crimes.

According to PJ, according to what has been investigated so far, “the principal accused, managing partner of a commercial company in the furniture industry, created a criminal scheme using an intricate fraudulent billing system, counting on the collaboration and participation of heads of various societies.”

With levels requested for financing which exceeded actual requirements and, “in collusion” with other suppliers’ companies, “they presented a financing project with the” Portugal 2020 Program “, This gave an appearance of normality to the transactions carried out but used  false invoicing issue in the period  from at least from May 2015 to August 2016 .

According to the PJ, they were able to obtain, through the ADC, “an overall amount of Community subsidies of around € 3,100,000.00 (three million and one hundred thousand euros), which were transferred to their accounts for personal gain”.

The investigation also found that “the principal defendant, by himself and / or by intermediaries, was managing his companies in an irregular manner, culminating such procedures leading to the insolvency of the main company, which left a liability of about € 10 million Euros, with the Portuguese State being the most affected.”

In the course of the police operation, several cars, computer equipment and mobile phones were seized and various documents of an accounting and tax nature were seized.

The detainees will be heard in court this Thursday for the first judicial interrogation and enforcement of the coercion measures.