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Calvo Pesca Investigated On Possible Fraud Spain, May 27, 13

The Spanish company Calvo Pesca said today that it is not opposed to being investigated by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), because it obtained the necessary fishing permits to operate, referring to the activities that have raised doubts in Brussels.

OLAF recommended the investigation of the Spanish company after it registered two purse seiners as carrying local flags and enabling them to fish in waters of Latin America prior to the agreed period.

In a statement, the company said that given its policy as a “transparent company open to dialogue, it has no objection to conduct such research.”

Calvo Pesca confirmed that it had obtained “all the necessary permits” by the authorities concerned to redirect two tuna vessel from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. According to the company, “this request was submitted after two years of operations and due to circumstances beyond its control.”

The investigation by OLAF is part of a more extensive previous case related to the fishing industry in Central America, in which irregularities were discovered in the registration of these two fishing vessels, operated by Calvo Pesca, the European Anti-Fraud Office told news source EFE today.

OLAF said today that Calvo Pesca had received over Euro 4 million from the Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance for registering both fishing vessels in a non-EU country and for having the two vessels fish in the Indian Ocean with local flag for at least five years.

However, the two fishing boats changed their flags and began to fish before the agreed period.

OLAF estimates that the financial cost of this fraudulent activity reaches Euro 7 million, of which Euro 4 million correspond to EU funds, Euro 1 million comes from the country concerned and the other Euro 2 million are related to interest and penalties.

This same source indicated that the final report had been submitted to the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, who immediately launched a procedure for a financial recovery.

As for the previous case investigated, Calvo Pesca said it affected most of the Spanish tuna industry and that an initial ruling had already been issued by the National Court "fully estimated the appeal brought by the company”.

The Spanish customs authorities have proceeded to officially request the EU for a waiver to the EU, according to the company.