An increase in European Union (EU) fraud cases relating to sugar has been reported by EU anti-fraud office OLAF, which has investigated “a massive increase” in amounts of the product being imported into the EU from the Balkans.

These amounted to 250,000 tonnes in 2001/2; odd because many Balkan countries were net importers of sugar prior to a 2000 regulation giving them preferential export access to the EU.

OLAF said it had particularly focused on exports of cane and beet sugar to Greece from Croatia, where cane sugar is not produced. Judicial inquires were also launched in Austria, Italy and Germany, over sugar consignments labelled as from (former) Yugoslavia, but suspected to have been manufactured elsewhere.