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EPPO Raids Criminal Organization Suspected of €40 Million VAT Fraud Involving Tyres in Italy

  • The European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) conducted raids, arrests, and seizures in Italy as part of an investigation into a criminal organization involved in a €40 million VAT fraud related to tyre sales.
  • The Italian Financial Police carried out the searches, seizures, and arrests, resulting in two people being arrested, two placed under house arrest, and one suspect restricted to their municipality.
  • The Court of Foggia froze almost €40 million, and the Financial Police seized 47 bank accounts, 11 real estate properties, four cars, and €56,000 in cryptocurrencies.
  • The French Judicial Police shut down several websites involved in the alleged fraudulent trade activity.
  • The EPPO is investigating a criminal organization linked by family ties that operated in the online sale of tyres.
  • The suspects created multiple companies in different EU Member States to exploit cross-border transaction rules and avoid VAT.
  • The companies were actually operating in Italy but pretended to be based abroad by using false invoices and accounting documents.
  • The criminal organization used the drop-shipping model to sell tyres online, eliminating the need for physical shops or storage.
  • Since 2017, the suspects used fictitious companies in EU Member States, particularly in the Canary Islands, to sell tyres to customers in Italy through e-commerce platforms.
  • The tyres came from legitimate European suppliers and were directly delivered to customers, avoiding VAT collection or reimbursement.
  • The fraudulent operations resulted in a VAT loss of nearly €40 million and generated a turnover of €178 million.
  • All individuals involved are considered innocent until proven guilty in Italian courts.

Source: eppo.europa.eu

Note that this post was (partially) written with the help of AI. It is always useful to review the original source material, and where needed to obtain (local) advice from a specialist.

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