European authorities are scrambling to recover more than €50 million — about $72 million — given to several individuals to fund what turned out to be fake research projects, says Nature News' Quirin Schiermeier. Italian authorities and the European Anti-Fraud Office in Belgium say they are planning to prosecute members of a criminal syndicate that fooled the European Commission into giving them millions of euros for non-existent science projects. The EC has terminated four collaborative projects in information technology and authorities in the UK, France, Greece, Austria, Sweden, Slovenia, and Poland are conducting investigations, Schiermeier says. A representative from the European Anti-Fraud Office says the fraud was conducted in a manner "resembling money laundering." Schiermeier adds, "To make them seem legitimate, grant applications included the names of real scientists, established research institutes and existing companies, he says. But in most cases the alleged project partners were included without their knowing." The EC says it has already recovered €10 million and is going after the rest.
The Science of Money Laundering
Jun 17, 2011