Seizures within the EU of Classic cigarettes fell from 181,112,416 in 2011 to 142,209,532 in 2012, according to the European Commission responding to a question from the member of the European Parliament for Flanders, Bart Staes.
Staes had asked:
1. “How many ‘Classic’ cigarettes were seized in the EU in 2011 and 2012?
2. “What is the origin (factory and country) of the illicit ‘Classic’ cigarettes seized in the EU?
3. “Did the seizure of ‘Classic’ cigarettes lead to seizure payments paid by international tobacco companies in 2011 and 2012? If so, what was the amount of the payment and the quantity of cigarettes involved?”
In answering the first question, the commission produced the figures mentioned above and said the seizures had included counterfeit and genuine Classic cigarettes with names that included Classic Gold, Classic Red and Classic Light.
It was not mentioned in the reply but the seizure of genuine cigarettes would normally lead to a seizure payment from the brand owner.
Meanwhile, the commission said that, according to available data, the seized cigarettes had come mostly from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Moldova, Ukraine, Romania, the Russian Federation and Germany.
The commission did not answer the third question because of rules governing the treatment of confidential information between the parliament and the commission.