OLAF /08/12 Brussels, 17 October 2008

Nearly 40 million cigarettes believed to be destined for the EU black market have been seized by Customs in Singapore following close cooperation between the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) and Singapore Customs.

"This is a fine example of international cooperation in the fight against the smuggling of contraband cigarettes and the tangible results that can be achieved" said Franz-Hermann Brüner, Director General of OLAF. Thanking Singapore Customs for their timely and effective action, he added "In 2007, some 4.8 billion cigarettes were seized by law enforcement agencies in the EU. In this particular case, close cooperation with Singapore Customs meant that the cigarettes could be seized before they reached the European Union".

The cigarettes, which were in four sea-containers fraudulently reported in the shipping documents to contain furniture and decorative household items, would have resulted in losses of customs duties and taxes of almost 12 million euros if they had been successfully smuggled into the EU.

Mr Fong Yong Kian, Director-General of Singapore Customs, said that the authorities in Singapore are committed to the international fight against smuggling of contraband cigarettes and will continue to work with OLAF.

Alessandro Butticé
Head of Spokesman, Communication and PRUnit
Tel : +32 (0)2 296.54.25
Fax : +32 (0)2 299.81.01
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