A confidence trickster has pulled a fast one on Austrian businesses as part of a scam that raked him in at least three million euros under false pretences, reports Hospodarske Noviny today.
The scam concerned a euro-project that the Austrians agreed to participate in, but they were agreeing with an impostor who claimed he was from the Ministry of Economy, which knows nothing of the affair. The man pretending to be from the Ministry managed to lure at least EUR 3 million in fees from various Austrian businesses that had agreed to participate in an alleged EUR 127 million project in Levice in south-east Slovakia.
The companies thought they had received notification from the Ministry of Economy on its headed paper (but no stamp), and so coughed out over EUR 164,000 each in administrative fees. The payments were made via an association set up in Austria called Bau Arge Levice. The case is now with the police and outgoing economy minister Juraj Miskov will be holding discussions about the fraud with representatives of the Austrian Embassy on Monday.