European Anti-Fraud Office

Operation SNAKE

Operation SNAKE

EU and Chinese customs join forces to target undervaluation of goods at customs

EU and national authorities prevented losses of over €80 million in customs duties, during a major joint customs operation (JCO) coordinated by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF). This joint customs operation had particular significance as, for the first time ever, it also involved Chinese customs authorities.

Operation "SNAKE" specifically targeted the undervaluation of imported goods, which causes huge losses to public budgets every year. Over a one month period, OLAF and the participating customs authorities detected more than 1,500 containers where the declared customs value was heavily undervalued. This included false descriptions of goods, false weights and quantities, and counterfeit goods. In addition, customs authorities succeeded in identifying several so-called missing traders and non-existent importers, triggering a number of criminal and administrative investigations in several countries.