Europol reported on 4th May that an organised criminal group involved in pan-European VAT fraud and money laundering has been dismantled in a joint operation led by the Spanish National Police, together with the Spanish Tax Agency and supported by Europol and Eurojust.  The investigation also saw the involvement of national authorities from Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Portugal and Romania. In total, the damage caused to the EU economy due to this VAT fraud reached €60 million.  The group carried out or simulated imports and purchases of electronic goods, both real and fake, which were sold online.  Investigations also revealed that the money was layered among the large network of shell companies before being funnelled to Bulgarian or Hungarian bank accounts.  The group then used different methods to integrate its profits, such as investments in real estate and real businesses, or the purchase and sale of luxury vehicles.  The final destinations of the proceeds of crime were Italy, Spain and the USA.

Author: raytodd2017

Chartered Legal Executive and former senior manager with Isle of Man Customs and Excise, where I was (amongst other things) Sanctions Officer (for UN/EU sanctions), Export Licensing Officer and Manager of the Legal-Library & Collectorate Support Section

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