Press Release OLAF/20/2003, 29 September 2003

A procedure for the exchange of data signed recently between the World Customs Organisation (WCO) and the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) will help in gaining a better global picture of illicit cigarette trafficking.

In future, there will be a technical option for information relating to seizures of smuggled cigarettes in the EU to be transferred automatically from the OLAF Anti-Fraud Information System (AFIS)/Ciginfo to the WCO Customs Enforcement Network system (CEN). This will improve the timeliness of global trend analysis and assist enforcement targeting activity in the WCO's 162 Member countries. Customs administrations around the world reported the seizure of 2.6 billion smuggled cigarettes to the WCO during 2003, illustrating the serious pandemic nature of the problem.

In welcoming the procedure, WCO Secretary General, Mr Michel Danet and OLAF Director General, Mr Franz-Hermann Brüner agreed that effective co-operation between customs services and other law enforcement agencies was an important factor in ensuring that the fiscal requirements of governments were achieved. It would also make life much more difficult for the smuggling groups and assist in bringing

Customs services around the world now have access to the most current information on methods of concealment and other modus operandi being used by cigarette traffickers in Europe,

This procedure is a very significant first step in the ongoing development of co-operation between the WCO and OLAF.

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

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