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EU Authorities Make Arrests In VAT Fraud Sting

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

21 October 2016

Law enforcement agencies from twelve member states and Europol have arrested members of a group responsible for value-added tax fraud worth EUR320m (USD348m).

Eurojust, the EU's Judicial Cooperation Unit, said prosecution and law enforcement authorities from Austria, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK were involved in the operation on October 19.

It said: "The group behind the criminal activity used a sophisticated infrastructure (buffer companies, missing traders, companies functioning as alternative payment platforms) to facilitate money laundering and crime-related money transfers spread over various member states and a number of third states."

Eurojust added that 18 arrests had been made, and that assets worth more than GBP570,000 (USD696,710) had been seized, with several accounts frozen in Switzerland.

"Strong collaboration at an early stage of this investigation with Europol, as well as the successes of previous days and several bilateral and multilateral coordination meetings held at Eurojust, enabled member states' investigation teams to identify the main players and to carry out actions across national borders, involving more than 200 law enforcement officers all over Europe. Europol deployed a mobile office to facilitate real-time information exchange and cross-match analysis of the data collected," Eurojust said.

TAGS: compliance | tax | value added tax (VAT) | tax compliance | Belgium | Ireland | Netherlands | tax avoidance | law | Norway | United Kingdom | enforcement | Austria | Germany | Italy | Poland | Spain | Sweden | Switzerland | European Union (EU) | VAT compliance matters | Europe

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