The Dutch banking giant Rabobank is accused of profiting off the back of fraud, forgery and the systematic abuse of hundreds of Romania's poorest citizens, in a huge and aggressive land grab in Eastern Europe.
Backed by investments from US and Dutch pension funds and working on the ground with local mafias and corrupt politicians, Rabobank allegedly is buying up €615 million worth of land in Poland and Romania, with the intention of selling off after 14 years at a predicted profit of around 300%.
Over the course of 9 months, an international team of four journalists gathered hundreds of documents and testimonies to detail how Rabobank allegedly bought illegally acquired land from local scouts and intermediaries, who in turn used fraudulent and abusive methods to obtain the land. Rabobank has then rented the land to dozens of politicians and convicted crooks and, with very dubious legality, used their EU farm subsidies as rent guarantees.
Land Grabbing in the EU unearths the realities of Europe’s land bubble for those at the continents poorest fringes, and highlights the need for the EU to address its rural development policies.
This project was shortlisted for the Investigative Reporting Award of the 2016 European Press Prize.
Illustration: © Gijs Kast
- 'Farmers in what may be the poorest village in Romania pressured into selling their land to Rabobank' (December 17th, 2015 - De Correspondent)
- 'In misschien wel het armste dorp van Roemenië verkopen boeren onder druk hun land aan de Rabobank' (NL) (December 17th, 2015 - De Correspondent)
- '"These villagers have nothing to their name"' (December 16th, 2015 - TheBlackSea.eu)
- 'Tales of corruption surround Rabobank dealings in Romania' (November 8th, 2015 - De Correspondent)
- 'Think land grabbing is a thing of the past? Think again' (November 8th, 2015 - De Correspondent)
- 'Hoe gestolen landbouwgrond in handen van Rabobank terechtkwam' (NL) (November 6th, 2015 - De Correspondent)
- 'De Roemeense investeringen van de Rabobank zijn met verhalen over corruptie omgeven. Wat zijn onze bevindingen?' (NL) (November 6th, 2015 - De Correspondent)
- 'Dutch bank faces questions on Romania land grabbing' (November 6th, 2015 - EUobserver.com)
- 'Dutch Rabobank buys up land stolen from Romanian farmers' (November 6th, 2015 - The Black Sea)
- 'Terenuri agricole românesti, furate, au ajuns în proprietatea Rabobank' (RO) (November 6th, 2015 - CRJI.org)