Cigarette smugglers in Lithuania caught with 70 million cigarettes
OLAF /11/05 Brussels, 11 April 2011
Nine people have been arrested in Lithuania in a criminal investigation which
the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) has
been coordinating for over a year. The
investigation, involving law enforcement
authorities in Lithuania, Poland and Germany,
resulted in the seizure of almost 70 million
cigarettes, preventing losses of €6 million
to the European taxpayer.
“This is a great result and I would like to congratulate the investigation team,
particularly the Lithuanian Customs who
initiated this investigation,” said Mr
Giovanni Kessler, Director General of OLAF.
“Coordinated international cooperation
is the key to success, as this case clearly
demonstrates. Significant financial losses
have been prevented and OLAF will continue
to support this investigation to bring
the perpetrators to justice."
The nine suspects have been detained for three months by the Lithuanian courts
pending further investigations. All of
the cigarettes seized in this investigation
were smuggled from Russia and Ukraine.
Financial losses to the EU and Member
States’ budgets as a result of cigarette
are estimated to be €10 billion a year.
Head of Unit Spokesman,
Communication, Public Relations
European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF)
Rue Joseph II, 30 B-1049 Brussels
Phone: +32 2 296 72 00
Fax: +32 2 2998101