A raid also in Germany: the European Union exposes billions in tax fraud

Raid also in Germany
The European Union reveals billions of dollars in tax fraud

The European Public Prosecutor’s Office and Europol have successfully dealt a blow to an international network of tax fraudsters. They are said to have defrauded the Treasury of about €2.2 billion. They used a well known system.

According to the European Union, it has uncovered an international tax fraud estimated at 2.2 billion euros. According to the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO), more than 600 people took part in “perhaps the largest VAT fraud ever identified in the European Union”. On Tuesday, strikes were carried out in 14 countries, including Germany, France and Spain.

According to the investigators, they discovered a network of “criminal activities” that were active in 26 out of 27 member states of the European Union and other countries. The network has spread to Albania, China, Mauritius, the United Arab Emirates and the United States of America.

The European Public Prosecutor’s Office began the investigation a year and a half ago, after being contacted by the Portuguese authorities. It involved a company in the Portuguese city of Coimbra that sold mobile phones and other electronic devices and was suspected of VAT fraud.

The VAT carousel costs €50 billion annually

EPPO, Europol and the national authorities faced a massive fraud scheme involving some 9,000 companies. This chain has involved companies acting as suppliers of electronics and others selling these devices online while claiming VAT refunds from national authorities before that revenue is sent abroad and vanishes.

According to Europol estimates, the so-called VAT boggling costs the EU nearly €50 billion annually. Many companies located in at least two EU member states are involved in this scam. It consists in obtaining a VAT deduction or refund on a supply of goods within the community, even though the VAT has not been paid to the appropriate tax authority. The European Patent Office (EPPO), to which 22 of the 27 EU member states belong, is responsible for fraud cases affecting the Union’s budget.


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