Press Release OLAF/01/2003, 15 january 2003

Following the publication of a number of articles in the international press, the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) welcomes the actions undertaken by the German judicial and Customs authorities to investigate the activities of a number of managers of a cigarette manufacturer in the regions of Hamburg and Stade.

OLAF supported a part of the preliminary investigation of the German authorities that lead to this operation and will continue to make itself available to the German authorities for any further action that they consider necessary. The Office would also like to underline that this co-operation is part of its activity of supporting all Member States in the fight against international cigarette smuggling.

OLAF wishes to make it clear that information obtained in the course of investigations is protected by the relevant Community and national provisions and no further comment will be made by the Office concerning this matter. However, the State Prosecutors in Hamburg and Stade as well as the Spokesman for the Zollkriminalamt (Mr Leonhard BIERL Tel +49 221 672 4050) may be contacted for any additional information concerning this investigation.

Mr Alessandro Butticé
Spokesman of the European Anti-fraud Office (OLAF)
Tel : +32 (0)2 296.5425
Fax : +32 (0)2 299.8101

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