Large-scale VAT fraud with fictitious export of perfumes halted in Hungary

30 November 2020|PRESS RELEASE

With the support of Eurojust, the Hungarian authorities have dismantled an organised crime group (OCG) engaging in large-scale VAT fraud. The operation was also supported by the law enforcement authorities of Austria, the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic. During a 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 seized relevant documents on time, enabling real estate and other proceeds of crime assets to be successfully secured in Hungary. Eurojust supported the investigation by facilitating multiple judicial requests.

The criminals had established a scheme that allowed them to avoid paying value added tax to the Hungarian state, which missed out on approximately EUR 8.5 million. The group had been operating a multi-level company network across Hungary, Austria, Czech Republic and Slovakia since 2017. The companies were registered by members of the OCG or by straw men, who pretended they were running an export business for perfumes and food supplements. The goods shipped abroad were returned to Hungary with false documents, which allowed the criminals to re-export the items several times, thus defrauding the Hungarian tax authorities.

Eurojust coordinated the investigation by facilitating the successful use of judicial cooperation tools, such as the European Investigation Order (EIO), and arranging supplementary information.