- 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.
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.