Suspect imports of sugar

BRUSSELS (AP) – The European Union’s anti-fraud office said yesterday it is investigating a «massive increase» in sugar imports from the Balkans – including from sources not even grown there – that followed the granting of preferential trade conditions. The Brussels-based office, known by the acronym OLAF, said it was «particularly interested» in shipments from Croatia to Greece that contained a mixture of beet sugar and cane sugar. «Croatia is not known to be a country in which sugar cane is grown,» the office said in a statement, adding that the case has been referred to judicial authorities in Greece and OLAF has assisted Thessaloniki prosecutors. As a result of the investigations, the European Commission, the EU’s executive branch, suspended preferential access to EU markets for goods from Serbia and Montenegro on April 30 for three months. «The investigations… have shown up the difficulties in applying the regulation as well as its shortcomings,» OLAF said.