PRESS RELEASE No 07/2014
13 May 2014
On 6 May 2014, Greek authorities carried out a further successful operation against international cigarette smugglers. On the basis of information gathered by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), the Financial and Economic Crime Unit (SDOE) and Greek customs seized nine million contraband cigarettes.
OLAF received information from reliable sources about a container declared as loaded with chairs, but strongly suspected to contain contraband cigarettes. On 17 February, the container was transported from the port of Jebel Ali in the United Arab Emirates to the free zone of Port Klang in Malaysia. The same container was then shipped to Port Piraeus in Greece, with a Greek company located in Thessaloniki declared as final destination.
OLAF informed Greek Customs of the suspicious container in March. Upon its arrival in Piraeus, Greek authorities checked the container on 6 May and discovered that it was loaded with 900 master cases of RGD brand cigarettes (that is nine million cigarettes). Furthermore, preliminary investigations revealed that the consignee was fake.
Unpaid duties and taxes on the smuggled cigarettes amount to nearly EUR 1.6 million in this new case. Taking into account two earlier seizures of cigarettes smuggled from Port Klang to Piraeus in March, OLAF and Greek authorities have prevented the loss of more than nearly EUR nine million in the three operations carried out in recent weeks.
See related press release no. 4: "Second major seizure of smuggled cigarettes in Greece within a week prevents loss of several million euros"
The mission of the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) is threefold: it protects the financial interests of the European Union by investigating fraud, corruption and any other illegal activities; it detects and investigates serious matters relating to the discharge of professional duties by members and staff of the EU institutions and bodies that could result in disciplinary or criminal proceedings; and it supports the EU institutions, in particular the European Commission, in the development and implementation of anti-fraud legislation and policies.
- Publication date
- 13 May 2014
- European Anti-Fraud Office
- News type
- OLAF press release