Illegal trade ‘prevalent’

| February 16, 2018

About 4.6 billion contraband cigarettes are sold in Greece every year, ‘costing the state €600 million (US$741 million) in lost taxes,’ according to a story in the Greek Reporter quoting a conference report.

The conference was said to have involved Transparency International, the General Secretariat on Corruption, Europol, the Economic Crime Unit of the Hellenic Police (SDOE) and other organizations. There was no mention of when or where the conference took place.

According to estimated figures presented at the conference; for every container of smuggled cigarettes, about €2 million are ‘lost from taxes and duties’.

Taken together, all EU member states are estimated to ‘lose a total €11 billion every year’ to the illegal trade in tobacco.

In crisis-stricken Greece, the Greek Reporter piece said, contraband cigarettes were particularly prevalent.

It had been stressed during the conference that higher taxes and shrinking incomes had made Greece a lucrative field for international criminal rackets and Greek smugglers.

According to Greek law enforcement authorities, one in five cigarette packs on the Greek market are illicit. And Greek Customs said that about 142 million smuggled packs of cigarettes were seized in 2017.

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Category: Breaking News, Illicit trade, People

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