A large-scale fraud scheme in imports of
textiles and shoes from China has been
discovered by the European Anti-Fraud
Office (OLAF) in co-operation with
the Austrian authorities.
Following close cooperation between the Austrian Finance Ministry, the Customs
investigation services in Vienna and Wiener-Neustadt
and OLAF, the cover was blown off a band
of Chinese, Hungarian and Austrian citizens
who have smuggled large quantities of textiles
and shoes form the PR of China into the
EU by means of heavily undervalued and
false invoices. Products involved were
jeans, t-shirts and other clothes as well
as various kinds of footwear including
sports shoes and casual shoes.
actual financial impact in customs duties
and VAT in the present case cannot be accurately
established yet, as the investigations
are ongoing, but will run to millions of
Euros. In addition, quantitative restrictions
on the importation of Chinese textiles
investigation revealed that mainly small
customs clearance agents were used to do
the customs clearance on behalf of Asian
citizens. The goods were subsequently cleared
in the Member State of arrival without
paying the VAT and were then transported
into another Member State of destination.
In this scheme the majority of consignees
are either non-existent or disappear from
the scene after a short period in operation.
to OLAF’s findings, this type of fraud
(false origin and value declarations, up
to 15 times lower than the actual value)
is not limited to Austria alone but it
appears to be a Europe-wide phenomenon.
Several other Investigations in different
Member States are ongoing.
overall quantity of textiles and footwear
affected by this type of fraud until now
can be estimated at around 600,000 tons.
The overall financial impact for the budget
of the European Community would be more
than 200 million Euros in customs duties
on imports of textiles from China to the
EU were introduced in 2005. Leather shoes
from China are subject to anti-dumping
duties since March 2006.
Alessandro Butticé Head of Spokesman, Communication and PRUnit
Tel : +32 (0)2 296.54.25
Fax : +32 (0)2 299.81.01 E-mail OLAF on YouTube