OLAF /08/15 Brussels, 28 November 2008

In a joint operation German customs investigators, together with their Belgian and Greek counterparts and supported by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), have dismantled a transnational criminal organisation involved in cigarette smuggling. Over 640 million cigarettes were seized across Europe and, in Germany alone, 28 arrests were made. The results of this operation, dubbed “Boomerang” by the German authorities, were presented today in Cologne by the Zollkriminalamt.

OLAF-Director General Franz-Hermann Brüner congratulated the customs investigators in Germany, Belgium and Greece: ”This investigation is another example of the effectiveness of international co-operation in the fight against cross- border organised crime. OLAF was happy to contribute to this successful operation against cigarette smuggling“.

After more than two years of work, customs investigators were able to dismantle the structures of this criminal organisation that has been operating in Greece, Belgium and Germany. A Belgian hub for their cigarette smuggling business near Liège was uncovered in April by Belgian and German investigators; 9 people were arrested. Co-operation between Greek and German investigators led to the detention of another four suspects near Athens in June. Several further suspects were simultaneously arrested in northern Germany.

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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