15th Meeting of Anti-Fraud and Anti-Smuggling Task Force

Bucharest, June 5, 2015 – The representatives of the law enforcement authorities from all SELEC Member States and partners (EUBAM, French Republic, Federal Republic of Germany, Italian Republic, Kingdom of Spain and United States of America) as well as the private sector (British American Tobacco, Imperial Tobacco, Japan Tobacco International, Philip Morris Trading and Pharmaceutical Security Institute) participated at the 15th Meeting of the Anti-Fraud and Anti-Smuggling Task Force which took place at SELEC premises on 4th – 5th of June 2015. The meeting was chaired by Mr. Cristian Duţă, Director for Operations of SELEC.

In the role of Anti-Fraud and Anti-Smuggling Task Force manager, Albanian Customs Liaison Officers to SELEC provided general overview upon last year overall info exchanges, as well as the joint investigations, logistically and financially supported by SELEC. 

During the meeting, the 2014 SEE Tobacco Products Smuggling Situation Report was presented and discussed. The joint investigation “JOKER” carried out last year and targeting organized crime groups dealing with cigarettes smuggling was also presented by the representatives of the involved countries, from both investigator and prosecutor perspectives.

The representatives of the Member States presented other successful cases in the field, highlighting new trends, modus operandi, routes and investigative methods.

In the second day of the meeting, SELEC in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Intellectual Property Law Enforcement Coordinator (IPLEC) organized a Specialized Training on Counterfeiting issues, focusing on counterfeit goods in the area of pharmaceuticals.

Ms. Karen Bresard and Mr. Pierre Souverain from the Pharmaceutical Security Institute gave an overview of Medicines and Pharmaceutical Crime, presenting the most significant recent cases related to counterfeit pharmaceuticals and the risks associated with online pharmacies. The training emphasized that extensive cooperation and exchange of information between law enforcement authorities, health agencies, and the public and private sectors represent key points in the fight against pharmaceutical crime. Raising awareness for patients and health care providers was also considered important as prevention could lead to very good results in countering this phenomenon.

The training was very well received by the participants, law enforcement authorities and prosecutors from SEE region, who could analyze the phenomenon also from the perspective of the private sector.

The Anti-Fraud and Anti-Smuggling Task Force is one of SELEC’s eight task forces, being established in 2003 and coordinated by Republic of Albania and Republic of Croatia.