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EPPO in Portugal: searches in aggravated smuggling and money laundering case, at least €600 000 damage

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Within the framework of an investigation by the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO), and with the support of the Portuguese Tax and Customs Authority (Autoridade Tributária e Aduaneira) searched today private residences, lawyers' offices, accounting firms and customs brokers in the region of Alentejo as well as in Lisbon’s and Oporto’s metropolitan areas.

The investigation is addressed at non-declared imports of textiles and shoes from China to the European Union, namely to Spain, through the Portuguese customs’ territory. This criminal activity has already harmed the financial interests of the European Union by at least €600,000.00 and amounts to the criminal offenses of aggravated smuggling and money laundering.

The searches are being conducted by 2 European Delegated Prosecutors and 1 investigative judge supported by 33 tax investigators from the Customs and Tax Authority, including 10 experts in IT matters.

This operation has also a crucial operational support given by the Portuguese Police (Polícia de Segurança Pública) that made available 25 officers to assist the searches, detached from Lisbon’s and Oporto’s Command Offices.

This is the first operation in Portugal since the start of the EPPO and to pay tribute to the European character of the operation, it was named “Operation Europe”.