Bangladesh used as cover-up for textile scam

OLAF /09/18
Brussels, 22 December 2009

Evaded import duties to the value of 50 million Euros are to be recovered following three successful investigations into importations of textiles that the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) has recently concluded. The products, in particular jeans and t-shirts, originated in the far-east, mainly China, but were introduced into the EU with forged documents showing Bangladesh as their country of origin.

During the investigations, thousands of documents, such as certificates of origin, bills of lading, customs export documents, delivery receipts and invoices presented to customs in EU Member States and to the competent Bangladesh authorities, the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), were found to be forged by third parties. The fraudsters aimed to evade EU import duties on textile consignments originating in the far-east, mainly in the PR of China. Forged or unduly obtained certificates of origin (Form A) falsely showing Bangladesh as the country of origin gave the importers of the textiles, in particular t-shirts and jeans, unrestricted and duty-free access to the European markets.

Co-ordinated investigations of the EU Member States’ authorities, together with OLAF and the Bangladesh Export Promotion Bureau, uncovered the scheme that was run at the expense of the EU taxpayer. Following the results of three verification missions of administrative cooperation to Bangladesh in 2007, 2008 and 2009, OLAF together with the EU Member States concerned have established a customs debt of around 50 million Euros. For this amount, recovery orders to the importers will be issued by the customs administrations in almost all EU Member States.

Investigations in several Member States and follow-up activities such as court proceedings are still ongoing.

Within the framework of these investigations, the Commission also published a notice to importers on 15 February 2008 informing the public and economic operators concerned of the serious doubts which existed in relation to importations of textiles allegedly originating in Bangladesh. By this means, OLAF and the Commission were able to raise the awareness of economic operators and to prevent further loss to the EU taxpayer.

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Jörg Wojahn
Spokesman of the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF)

Head of Unit Spokesman, Communication & Public Relations (act.)
Tel : +32 (0)2 29.95410
Fax : +32 (0)2 299.8101
E-mail:olaf-press@ec.europa.eu
http://ec.europa.eu/olaf

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