The Budapest public prosecutor has filed charges based on a proposal by Europe’s anti-fraud office, OLAF, against four men for overcharging for work on playgrounds part-financed by the European Union.
Budapest Chief Prosecutor Tibor Ibolya said on Tuesday that his office had initiated prison sentences for the men for overcharging by more than 700 million forints (EUR 1.9m) and misusing EU subsidies and Hungarian budget resources.
One of the men, aged 59, was the head of a company involved in drawing up applications for funding. In 2007, he learnt that EU support was available for revamping playgrounds from 2008, the statement said. He deliberately set out to abuse application procedures and apply for excessive amounts for the works. He involved his coworkers in the scheme as well as a businessman who set up a company to carry out the works, Ibolya added.
They visited towns and villages with fewer than 5,000 residents and offered local councils their services, making over-priced proposals for jobs that were carried out using much smaller amounts.
The revamp projects were financed 75 percent from EU resources and 25 percent from Hungarian budget resources, the statement said.
Featured photo illustration by Zsolt Szigetváry/MTI