On Friday, 31 March 2023, the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) in České Budějovice (Czechia) referred a criminal case to the Pardubice branch seat of the Hradec Králové Regional Court, where two individuals were indicted for fraudulently obtaining up to € 190.000 in EU funds, for the provision of childcare services.
The facts date back to 2018–2019, when the accused are believed to have provided false information in order to obtain grants from the EU’s European Social Fund (ESF), on behalf of an association providing childcare in the region of Pardubice.
According to the accusation, the accused, in their application for payment, claimed to host a number of children in pre-school facilities – whereas in reality, around 40 children either did not attend the facilities at all, or attended for fewer hours than claimed by the association. In addition, none of the children attended the facilities over the weekends and public holidays, as was claimed.
The total damages to the EU and the Czech national budget amount to € 190.000 .
The EPPO also ordered the seizure of real estate worth more than € 100.000, to recover the damages to the EU and national budgets, and the freezing of a bank account, for the purpose of imposing a financial penalty of up to €41.000.
The investigation that led to this indictment was initiated by the national authorities, and the case was evoked by the EPPO in June 2021. The EPPO counted on the support Czechia’s Police (Regional Police Directorate of the Pardubice Region – Krajské ředitelství policie Pardubického kraje).