8 July 2021

The Specialized Prosecutor's Office is participating in an international operation to stop a scheme of VAT fraud on import of cars from Germany


The Specialized Prosecutor's Office is participating in an international operation with the Italian authorities, in which an organized criminal group for fraud on the import of new and used cars from Germany has been neutralized.

A total of 60 people suspected of fraud to evade VAT of at least EUR 6.3 million have been identified so far. More than 200 cars were registered with false documents in Italy and were sold at below market prices.

During the operation, property worth nearly EUR 2 million was seized from the main fraud suspect. Between 2015 and 2020, he organized illegal activities concerning the import of cars from Germany. The cars were sold to Italian customers, who benefited from lower prices due to lower tax rates on German vehicles.

The fraud was committed through the use of forged invoices and carousel trading by companies set up for this purpose. Under the pretext that cars were sold in other EU Member States, VAT was avoided. Forged documents were used to register the cars, and fraud procedures were legalized by using fake invoices for real estate transactions.

According to Eurojust, the total commercial value of the fraud amounts to at least 53.5 million euros. During their activities, the perpetrators not only falsify, but conceal and destroy official documents in order to hide the fraud.

The investigation into the scheme was launched by the Financial Guard of Pescara in Italy under the supervision of the Pescara Prosecutor's Office. European investigation orders have been issued for execution in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Germany.

Cross-border judicial cooperation on the case between EU member states is coordinated by Eurojust, where a coordination center has been set up to support the implementation of European investigation orders with the participation of the National Offices of four countries - Bulgaria, Germany, Italy and the Czech Republic.