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Passos Coelho and Relvas - fraud at Tecnoforma cost EU €6.7 million

passosMantaRotaPedro Passos Coelho was a consultant and administrator of Tecnoforma before becoming prime minister. He and Miguel Relvas have been associated with claims that the EU was ripped-off over training programmes run by the company that either never happened or the numbers attending were inflated.

The European Commission's anti-fraud office has detected "serious irregularities or even frauds in the management of European funds" in projects submitted or carried out by Tecnoforma.

Pedro Passos Coelho, was a consultant and administrator of Tecnoforma before becoming Prime Minister. The company was owned by Miguel Relvas, one of Passos Coelho’s best chums in the Social Democratic Party and later, in Government.

That report from the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) in Brussels came after an investigation by the Central Department of Criminal Investigation and Action (DCIAP) in 2013. This looked for contract favouritism towards Tecnoforma and how the company used European funds.

The report, which has led OLAF to refer to 'fraud and serious irregularities,' was based on identical evidence that DICAP gathered before the case was shelved in September 2017.

The DCIAP prosecutor in charge of the investigation said that, "Tecnoforma has in some way been favoured, lawfully or unlawfully, by the Secretary of State for Local Administration."  However, DCIAP also concluded that there was no evidence of "the malicious practice of any conduct aimed at defrauding the European Union's assets."

A further criminal investigation into Tecnoforma triggered by the DIAP in Coimbra was shelved in 2014, one year before OLAF finished its work.  The Coimbra investigation looked into the Foral programme to train 300 to 500 council staff to operate at seven aerodromes and two heliports.

All the prosecutor chose to see in this investigation was the falsification of records of attendance.

OLAF's findings differed from those of the Public Prosecutor's Office, the DCIAP and the Coimbra DIAP, to the extent that the European Commission's anti-fraud office concluded that "the amount to be recovered" by the European institutions, "owing to irregularities detected at Tecnoforma, is €6,747,462."

'Irregularities' here, means 'fraud' as OLAF's report described Tecnoforma including depreciation costs of its buildings, rent, administration, photocopying and hire of its own training rooms as well as running costs for company houses in Angola, top-of-the-range vehicles, fridges, mattresses, cabinets and tables.

True to form, Miguel Relvas says it's nothing with him, as nothing ever is, "It is unreasonable and malicious to associate my name with any concrete programme applications carried out by the companies in question."

Regarding the training of staff for municipal aerodrome and heliports, a failed project, Relvas said that this was not his area of responsibility as Secretary of State for Local Administration (responsible for the Foral programme) but came under the Regional Coordination and Development Commission (CCDR) projects that were funded by European money.

At the time, the CCDR for the central region of Portugal was chaired by Paulo Pereira Coelho, a friend of Miguel Relvas and of Passos Coelho.

 

See also: 'Battling Socialist Euro MP “refuses to be silent” over archived fraud investigation'Battling Socialist Euro MP “refuses to be silent” over archived fraud investigation'