ITALY: Butter Fraud
An International butter fraud was broken up where more than 16 thousand tonnes of adulterated butter produced in Italy was sold for 45 million euro, in addition to European Community subsidies obtained on what was falsely declared as butter.The ring leaders, a gang called the Naples Camorra, had set up a Mafia holding group involving major producers of butter for industrial use in southern Italy and had successfully gained control of one of the largest companies in the industry in northern Italy.Over the past three weeks, 70 searches were carried out on businesspremises and private dwellings in Italy France and Belgium where the phoney butter was known to have been sold illegally through falsified invoices and bribes taken by officials responsible for supervising the industry.Large quantities of butter were seized and several arrests were made in Italy and France.The investigation was led by the Public Prosecutors Office in Naples, the Italian Revenue Police, the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) and the Serious Financial Crime Office of the French Judicial Police.It was discovered that 5000 tonnes of beef tallow substances and vegetable material as well as 400 tonnes of synthetic, laboratory-produced substances were used in the production of the butter.The adulterated butter was used for the production of foodstuffs, butter and concentrated butter.Evidence that came to light related to the crimes of adulterating butter for human consumption and fraud at the expense of the Community budget.
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