Thirty ranchers are investigated for simulating grazing activities to collect the CAP

The Civil Guard has investigated 22 natural persons and eight legal entities for fraud in the collection of subsidies from the European Union, linked to animal health and welfare, by simulating grazing activities to collect aid from the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). . Irregularities have been detected in the collection of these subsidies by livestock farmers in the provinces of Palencia, Zamora, Valladolid, Segovia, Ávila, Salamanca and Cantabria. The ranchers involved received an illegal annual amount of around 45,000 euros per rancher, for simulating grazing on land when, in reality, the cattle never left the intensive farms. It has also been possible to demonstrate that the pastures on which they were received aid from the CAP, they were illicitly reassigned to ranchers in southern Spain, who had livestock for sale that they moved to the aforementioned pastures to carry out transhumance.

Those investigated are accused of several crimes of subsidy fraud, administrative prevarication, document falsification and fraud and it is estimated that the economic benefit obtained would be around one million euros and the property investigation carried out in parallel has culminated in the creation of a judicial inventory composed of 96 properties, which have been frozen to those investigated for a value greater than four million euros, with the aim of facing the property responsibilities derived from the commission of crimes.

The investigations began in June 2022, when it was learned of the existence of a plot that would falsify the necessary conditions for the illicit obtaining of a series of aid from the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), allegedly in connivance with administration personnel. belonging to the Junta de Castilla y León, specifically the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Rural Development.

The rights to this aid are granted by the competent regional administration and must involve land and an activity to be carried out on that land.

Specifically, the aid analyzed in this operation was granted by virtue of grazing with slaughter animals (intended for human consumption) in pastures assigned to each applicant.

The ranchers investigated requested the help of the PAC by simulating the carrying out of this grazing in different territories located in the province of Palencia. However, they had intensive cattle farms, whose purpose was to fatten the animals in the shortest possible time, so these animals never managed to graze on the lands that were the object of aid.

family plot

This fraud was headed by the Head of the Regional Agrarian Section (SAC), who was in charge, in person, of validating and managing the different fraudulent files and ignored the warnings of his administration’s technicians.

It coincides that the veterinarian in charge of inspecting the livestock was the sentimental partner of the aforementioned Head of the SAC, who did not carry out any field inspection, in the period during which the investigated crimes were committed, despite the existence of a multitude of conditions. risky.

In addition, the president of the Neighborhood Council, brother of the Head of the SAC, issued certificates of use of fraudulent pastures (mandatory official document for applying for aid).

On the other hand, a series of people related on a personal level to the figure of the Head of the SAC and linked to an association for the defense of livestock farmers, were in charge of obtaining the livestock farmers requesting aid, in different provinces, carrying out first-hand the necessary procedures for the ranchers to obtain the illicit benefit.

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