The fraud was committed through the use of forged invoices and carousel trading by companies set up for this purpose.
The specialized prosecutor’s office is participating in an international operation to investigate the Italian authorities, in which a criminal group for fraud with the import of new and used cars from Germany has been neutralized, the prosecutor’s office announced.
In connection with the investigation, European investigation orders were issued for execution in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Germany.
Currently, 60 people are suspected of fraud to evade VAT for at least 6.3m euros. More than 200 cars were registered with false documents in Italy and were sold at below market prices.
“The scheme is as follows. An Italian citizen buys cars from Germany and the same cars were sold and exported to other countries – the Czech Republic and Bulgaria, so Italy is harmed by not paying VAT,” the special prosecutor’s office said.
According to the spokesman of the special prosecutor’s office, Bulgaria is only a partner in the investigation and has not been harmed purely financially. There are no reports of any Bulgarians arrested among the 60 people arrested in the investigation.
During the operation, property worth nearly 2m euros was seized from the main fraud suspect. Between 2015 and 2020, he organized illegal activities around 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 are sold in other EU Member States, VAT has been 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, Italy, under the supervision of the city’s prosecutor’s office. European investigation orders have been issued for execution in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Germany.
Cross-border judicial cooperation in 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.