ORGANIZED BY THE EUROPEAN ANTI-FRAUD OFFICE (OLAF), THE ANNUAL TASK GROUP CIGARETTES MEETING FOR 2000 IN VISBY, SWEDEN
Press Release OLAF/09/2000, 9 November 2000
The phenomenon of cigarette smuggling into
the EU is strongly linked to actions by organised
criminal rings. Its importance is demonstrated
by the quantity of seizures of contraband cigarettes
made by the Member States. The annual Task Group
Cigarettes meeting, organized by the European
Anti-Fraud Office, will be held in Visby, Sweden
from 9 to 11 November 2000. The purpose: to
discuss operational measures undertaken in the
last year in the fight against cigarette smuggling
into the EU and to formulate plans for initiatives/actions
for the coming year.
The European Anti-Fraud Office
estimates that losses to the Community in own
resources and to Members States' national revenues
run to several billion Euro per year.
In response to the growing
problem of cigarette smuggling into the European
Union, the European Commission created a "Task
Group Cigarettes" in late 1994.
However, cigarette smuggling
into the European Union is still a major problem
and, in 1999 the authorities in the Member States
seized approximately 570,000 master cases of
cigarettes which were in the process of being
illegally introduced into the EU (1 master case
= 10,000 cigarettes - 1 container of cigarettes
= 1.000 master cases of cigarettes = 10.000.000
cigarettes = around 1.000.000 EURO in Custom
duties, VAT and excise. 25% of the above mentioned
1.000.000 EURO are destined for the Community
budget like own resources).
The Task Group Cigarettes
comprises agents in the European Anti-Fraud
Office and agents from the relevant anti-fraud
services in the Member States.
Since 1995, an annual Task
Group Cigarettes meeting has been held at different
locations in the European Union.
This year the annual Task
Group Cigarettes meeting will be held in Visby,
Sweden from 9 to 11 November 2000. Participants
at this meeting will include agents from the
Task Group Cigarettes from the European Anti-Fraud
Office (OLAF) and experts in the fight against
cigarette smuggling from the relevant services
in the Member States.
The purpose of this year's
meeting is to discuss operational measures undertaken
in the last year in the fight against cigarette
smuggling into the EU and to formulate plans
for initiatives/actions for the coming year.
Mr Alessandro Butticé
Spokesman of the European Anti-fraud Office
Tel : +32 (0)2 296.5425
Fax: +32 (0)2 299.8101