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EPPO leads searches in Luxembourg and Germany in VAT fraud investigation

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(Luxembourg, 7 December) – On Monday (4 December), the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) in Luxembourg City and Frankfurt am Main led searches in Luxembourg and Germany, in an action targeting a criminal group suspected of a VAT fraud. In addition, 17 bank accounts, cash, gold and cryptocurrencies have been seized.

According to the investigation, a group of individuals, operating as part of a larger criminal organisation, engaged, through a Luxembourg-based company, in a Missing Trader Intra-Community (MTIC) fraud - a complex criminal scheme that takes advantage of EU rules on cross-border transactions between its Member States, as these are exempt from VAT.

Based on the evidence, this company sold AirPods and other small electronic devices to missing traders – shell companies established for the sole purpose of evading the payment of VAT – primarily based in Italy.

The joint investigative measures were performed in Luxembourg by the Luxembourgish Judicial Police (Service de police judiciaire – section criminalité financière), and in Germany by the Rhineland-Palatinate Criminal Investigation Department (Landeskriminalamt Rheinland-Pfalz) and the tax authorities of Trier/Rhineland-Palatinate (Steuerfahndung Trier).

The EPPO is the independent public prosecution office of the European Union. Itis responsible for investigating, prosecuting and bringing to judgment crimes against the financial interests of the EU.