Stopping VAT fraud in Hungary
In an operation in Hungary, Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Serbia in July 2020, coordinated by Eurojust and supported by Europol, the Hungarian authorities arrested two leaders of an OCG responsible for massive VAT carousel fraud involving the sale of sugar and cooking oil imported from EU Member States.
In total, 33 locations in five countries were searched, unravelling a two-year scam to avoid paying VAT to the Hungarian authorities, who consequently missed out on approximately EUR 10 million in revenue. The operation had no impact on the end-users of the sugar and cooking oil. In the run-up to the action day, Eurojust facilitated direct contact between the national judicial and law enforcement authorities from all five countries involved, helping to map out the criminal activity and providing translations and hands-on operational support.
Eurojust also supported the Hungarian judicial authorities with the execution of EIOs and other judicial instruments for the other countries involved, resulting in numerous witness hearings, house searches and document seizures executed outside Hungary.
During the action day, 11 simultaneous searches and 12 witness hearings took place in Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Serbia, in addition to 22 house searches in Hungary. Altogether, nine suspects were interrogated, two of whom were arrested, and real estate was seized. More than 110 officers were deployed in the operations on the ground.
In November, the Hungarian authorities dismantled an OCG engaging in large-scale VAT fraud through fictitious sales of perfume, with the support of Eurojust and law enforcement authorities in Austria, the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic. During the joint action day, seven Hungarian suspects were arrested and several premises in Hungary and one in the Slovak Republic were searched. The authorities of the participating countries intervened through the timely seizure of relevant documents, enabling real estate and other proceeds of crime assets to be secured in Hungary. Eurojust supported the investigation by facilitating multiple judicial requests.