OLAF Helps Greek Authorities Seize Nearly 10 Million Contraband Cigarettes
17 June 2021
2018-Max_Planck_Herr_Wahl_1355_black white_Zuschnitt.jpg Thomas Wahl

At the end of May 2021, Greek authorities succeeded in seizing almost 10 million contraband cigarettes. The cigarettes were smuggled from China in suitcases. The action prevented the loss of around €2 million in excise duties and VAT. OLAF supported the operation by alerting the Greek authorities when it identified the suspicious shipment. OLAF also closely cooperated with the Chinese Anti-Smuggling Bureau which tipped off the EU body. Cigarette smuggling remains one of the major threats to the EU budget. In 2020 alone, international operations involving OLAF led to the seizure of nearly 370 million illegal cigarettes that would have caused losses of around €74 million in customs and excise duties and VAT to EU and Member State budgets (→ eucrim 1/2021, 14).

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2018-Max_Planck_Herr_Wahl_1355_black white_Zuschnitt.jpg
Thomas Wahl

Max Planck Institute for the Study of Crime, Security and Law (MPI CSL)

Public Law Department

Senior Researcher