Italian police said Wednesday they have busted a major operation to defraud a government scheme to help businesses during the coronavirus pandemic, recovering more than 400 million euros ($430 million).
Twelve people were arrested as part of the sting against a criminal network based in Rimini, northern Italy, which defrauded the Italian state of a total of 440 million euros, the financial crimes police said.
Some 97 percent of this has been recovered, police said, from property to vehicles and cryptocurrencies – as well as gold, platinum and luxury watches held in a safe deposit box in Austria, which cooperated with the operation.
“The organized crime group used Italian companies to sell false tax credits, to simulate business leases in order to obtain COVID-19-related compensation, and to simulate tax credits for false works to improve the safety and energy consumption of the companies,” explained EU agency Eurojust, which helped with cross-border issues.
European Union countries including Italy spent billions of euros helping businesses when the arrival of coronavirus in early 2020 triggered widespread shutdowns across the economy.
Italy recommends fourth COVID-19 vaccine dose for immunocompromisedItaly's health ministry has recommended that people with a severely compromised immune system receive a fourth mRNA vaccine shot against COVID-19, ... Coronavirus
New COVID-19 vaccine may also protect cancer patients with weak immunity: StudyA new COVID-19 vaccine might also protect cancer patients with weak immune systems, a new study found. Researchers from the American Association for ... Coronavirus
South Korea to expand rollout of second COVID-19 booster shot to people over 60South Korea’s health ministry said on Wednesday it will administer a second COVID-19 vaccine booster shot for people over 60 as the country continues ... Coronavirus
Shanghai warns COVID-19 lockdown violators will be punished as cases hit 25,000The Chinese city of Shanghai warned on Wednesday that anyone who violates strict COVID-19 lockdown rules will be dealt with strictly, while also ... Coronavirus