July 20, 2024

Athens News

News in English from Greece

3 tons of contraband cigarettes seized at Athens International Airport

Customs officers at Eleftherios Venizelos Airport, using data from AADE information systems, in the course of operational actions, inspected 186 cardboard boxes that were located in the warehouse.

The cargo arrived from the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. The investigation revealed that the boxes contained a total of 14,700 packages of contraband cigarettes, which corresponds to 600,000 euros in duties and taxes. The cigarettes were seized, and the preliminary investigation continues to identify their recipient.

Damage from cigarette smuggling to the Greek economy (withstatistics for 2022-2023):

• In 2022, 39,476 inspections were carried out, during which 3,236 violations were identified, 844 million cigarettes and 321 tons of tobacco were seized.

• AADE detected and seized 60.1 million cigarettes in 2022, with associated taxes and duties amounting to €12,513,401.

• In the first quarter of 2023, employees ELAS began to liquidate a criminal organization engaged in the production and trafficking of smuggled tobacco products. 11.5 million cigarettes and 20 tons of processed tobacco were confiscated, and the amount of unpaid taxes amounted to 2.5 million euros.

• Cigarette smuggling deprives the Greek treasury of at least 600 million euros annually.

• A 20% reduction in the illicit alcohol trade would bring an extra €28.6 million into public coffers, according to the IOBE.

The main reasons for smuggling are: excessive taxation of legal tobacco products, which, coupled with the economic crisis in recent years, has pushed smokers towards cheaper substitutes for legal cigarettes. A KPMG study showed that in 2021, EU 3.4 billion illegal cigarettes were consumed, corresponding to 24% of total consumption.

These data highlight the seriousness of the cigarette smuggling problem in Greece and its negative impact on the country's economy. The government and law enforcement agencies continue to fight this phenomenon, but, as can be seen from the statistics, the problem remains relevant.

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