Large-scale VAT fraud investigation across EU requires EAWs and EIOs
Eurojust, now the European Agency for Criminal Justice and Cooperation, is coordinating an investigation into a large scale VAT fraud by a criminal organisation, spanning nine EU Member States.
Last week certain actions, including interviews, arrests, and seizure of luxury goods, were taken by judicial and police authorities, with proceedings opened by the French National Financial Prosecutor and the Investigative Judge of Lyon.
The allegations are that a VAT carousel was operating, whereby luxury cars were purchased on behalf of shadow companies controlled by French citizens without VAT, and which were then immediately resold at a lower price, using false VAT declarations.
The estimated amount of lost revenue for the French tax authority is over twelve million euros, and the charges include criminal activities affecting the financial interests of the EU.
Eurojust has set up a coordination centre, and is supporting the urgent execution of European Investigation Orders (for the identification of bank accounts, to search a bank safe, and so on), as well as two European Arrest WArrants and 51 freezing and seizure orders.
For more information on the investigation, read Eurojust’s press release of yesterday here, and on the transformation of Eurojust into an Agency and the new Regulation which will apply to this case, read our post of 7 January here.