Six arrests and seizures worth €23 million in Czechia, Romania, Slovakia

Published on

Updated on 12 November

The European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) coordinated an operation in which law enforcement authorities carried out searches, arrests and seizures worth €23 million in Czechia, Romania and Slovakia. Six people have been arrested, on suspicion of forming a criminal organisation and evading taxes.

The main suspects organised a so-called VAT carousel, which involved the repeated circulation of platinum coins through the same companies. Some of these companies – the so-called missing traders – did not fulfil their tax obligations, and therefore permitted another of these companies, based in Germany – the so-called broker – to claim an undue VAT credit. The estimated tax loss in Germany from these criminal activities is at least €23 million. The core of the criminal activity was located in Hamburg (Germany), and the money laundering was primarily organised in Czechia and Slovakia, with important links in Romania.

four men and one woman sitting at desk behind screens
control room in the EPPO's central office

The entire operation was coordinated from the EPPO’s central office in Luxembourg. Bank accounts and assets were frozen in Slovakia and Czechia. Six suspects were arrested and they will all shortly be brought before a judge. The entire operation was led by a European Delegated Prosecutor in Munich (Germany) and executed by the German Tax Police in Chemnitz (Steuerfahndung Chemnitz); the German Tax Police in Hamburg (Steuerfahndung Hamburg); the German Tax Police in Munich (Steuerfahndung München); the Slovak National Criminal Agency of the Presidium of the Police Corps (Národná kriminálna agentúra Prezídia Policajného zboru); the Slovak Criminal Police Office of the Presidium of the Police Corps (Úrad kriminálnej polície Prezídia Policajného zboru);the Czech National Organized Crime Agency (Národní centrála proti organizovanému zločinu); and the EPPO office in Bucharest supported by Bihor’s and Salaj’s County Police Inspectorates (Romania).