Timeframe: 6 June 2013
Location: SELEC Headquarters
Bucharest, June 6, 2013 – The 13th Meeting of Anti-Fraud and Anti-Smuggling Task Force, bringing together all SELEC Member States and also partners (EUBAM, EUROPOL, France, Japan Tobacco International, United Kingdom, United States of America and World Customs Organization), was organized at SELEC premises in Bucharest. The main purpose of this meeting was to evaluate the last year’s outcomes in the field of combating trans-border customs fraud and smuggling as well as to plan the future activities.
The 2012 SEE Cigarettes Smuggling Report was presented during the meeting; at the same time, the anti-fraud and anti-smuggling joint investigations awarded in 2012 by the SELEC Bi-annual Awards Committee were presented. The meeting was an excellent opportunity to hand over the certificate of honor to the representatives of the Hungarian National Tax and Customs Administration, for the joint investigation “LION/MACHINEHEAD”.
Operation “LION/ MACHINEHEAD” was a case in the field of cigarettes smuggling initiated in August 2012 by Hungary and Romania, which led to the arrest of 4 persons and seizure of cigarette production machinery line, 45,000 cartons of counterfeit cigarettes brand “Plugarul”, 31,000 kg of fine-cut tobacco, 856 kg of tobacco leaves, 363,000 pieces of counterfeit Moldovan tax seals, cigarette papers and cigarette-box papers. The estimated value of the seized excise products was about 2 million euro. This joint investigation was awarded a second place prize for the second semester of 2012.
The results of the Operation “TROJAN HORSE III”, one of the most successful operations of SELEC, were also presented and discussed at the meeting.
This operation was initiated by Hungarian National Tax and Customs Administration and carried out during 11th – 22nd of March 2013, focusing on shipments of commercial and non-commercial nature transported in air or postal traffic, including express mail couriers, furthermore commercial consignments arriving in sea traffic. More than 289 types of counterfeit goods were detained during this operation.
The organization of a Conference on cigarettes smuggling issues in September 2013 in Republic of Croatia, with the financial support of Japan Tobacco International, was welcomed and highly appreciated by the participants.
At the end of the meeting, Mr. Cristian Duta, Director for Operations of SELEC, emphasized that “by extending and intensifying our cooperation in the field of combating trans-border fraud and smuggling, our success will increase considerably, creating in the same time a stronger synergy around our common efforts.”