On 29 and 30 September 2021, the EPPO conducted searches of 6 premises in Vienna and other locations across Austria, and also took a number of witness statements. This formed part of a cross-border investigation into customs fraud, relating to the importation of FFP2 masks from China to the EU.
This investigation was carried out by the EPPO in close coordination with the Austrian Central Specialised Prosecution Office for the Fight Against Economic Crimes and Corruption (WKStA), which is in charge of a parallel investigation. Extensive material evidence was seized on the ground.
A European Delegated Prosecutor from one of the EPPO’s offices in Germany is leading this cross-border investigation, as the masks concerned were imported to Austria via Frankfurt (Germany). The customs value of the masks is thought to have been deliberately undervalued in order to evade customs duties owed, thus resulting in considerable financial damage to the EU.