EPPO: Four people arrested and assets worth EUR 23 mln seized in Czechia, Romania and Slovakia
Four people were arrested and assets worth EUR 23 million were seized in Czechia, Romania and Slovakia during a cross-border operation coordinated by the European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO). The arrested suspects are accused of tax evasion and forming a criminal organisation.
"The main suspects organised a so-called VAT carousel, which involved the repeated circulation of platinum coins through the same companies. Some of these companies – the so-called missing traders – did not fulfil their tax obligations, and therefore permitted another of these companies, based in Germany – the so-called broker – to claim an undue VAT credit," EPPO said in a press release.
According to the European prosecutors, these criminal activities cost Germany at least EUR 23 million in estimated tax loss.
"The core of the criminal activity was located in Hamburg (Germany), and the money laundering was primarily organised in Czechia and Slovakia, with important links in Romania," the EPPO said.
"The entire operation was coordinated from the EPPO's central office in Luxembourg. Bank accounts and assets were frozen in Slovakia and Czechia. Four suspects were arrested and they will all shortly be brought before a judge," the same source also said.
The entire operation was led by a European Delegated Prosecutor in Munich (Germany) and executed by the German Tax Police in Chemnitz (Steuerfahndung Chemnitz); the German Tax Police in Hamburg (Steuerfahndung Hamburg); the German Tax Police in Munich (Steuerfahndung München); the Slovak National Criminal Agency of the Presidium of the Police Corps (Národná kriminálna agentúra Prezídia Policajného zboru); the Czech National Organized Crime Agency (Národní centrála proti organizovanému zločinu); and the EPPO office in Bucharest supported by Bihor's and Salaj's County Police Inspectorates (Romania).
The newly-launched EPPO, which is responsible for investigating, prosecuting and bringing to judgment crimes against the financial interests of the EU, started operations on June 1. The European Chief Prosecutor is Laura Codruta Kovesi, a former head of Romania's Anticorruption Directorate (DNA).
(Photo source: Eppo.europa.eu)