`Eight Accused in €3M Sale of 'Italian' Olive Oil from Unknown Sources - Olive Oil Times

Eight Accused in €3M Sale of 'Italian' Olive Oil from Unknown Sources

Dec. 8, 2014
Marco Marino

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Following the case of 3,200 gal­lons of untrace­able oil seized in Tuscany last month, another scan­dal aris­ing from the scarcity of Italian olive oil was uncov­ered this week.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry announced that the Central Inspectorate for the pro­tec­tion of the qual­ity and fraud pre­ven­tion of food prod­ucts dis­cov­ered the manip­u­la­tion of invoices for 500,000 liters of olive oil falsely passed off as Italian, for a total trade value of €3 mil­lion.

The oper­a­tion, called Paper Oil,” led to eleven searches and eight per­sons under inves­ti­ga­tion in Apulia, Calabria, Tuscany and Liguria.

The inves­ti­ga­tors retraced the scam sys­tem the crim­i­nals used: Companies from Apulia and Calabria forged doc­u­men­ta­tion about the Italian ori­gin of extra vir­gin olive oil of unknown sources, to be deliv­ered to bot­tling com­pa­nies cer­ti­fied as Made in Italy,” and then pack­aged and dis­trib­uted to the mar­ket­place.

The eight sus­pects are accused of agribusi­ness fraud and tax eva­sion.

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The Minister of Agriculture, Maurizio Martina, said: The Ministry has strength­ened con­trols on the oil sup­ply chain because the decline in pro­duc­tion this year is expos­ing the oil sec­tor to the risk of an increase of the frauds cases. The oper­a­tion Paper Oil’ is a proof of our com­mit­ment to safe­guard con­sumers and thou­sands of hon­est pro­duc­ers already fac­ing the cur­rent cri­sis.”

The action of check­ing trace­abil­ity has been enhanced so we can trace the prod­ucts from their entrance to the ports up to their pro­cess­ing and mar­ket­ing. We need to state very clearly there is no room for peo­ple break­ing the rules. Our Inspectorate for pro­tec­tion of the qual­ity and fraud pre­ven­tion works every day very metic­u­lously while con­firm­ing the effi­ciency of our anti-fraud sys­tem.”


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