A simultaneous operation in Greece and Germany took place from November 13 to 15, 2023, as part of an investigation by the European Public Prosecutor’s Office with the aim of investigating criminal cross-border fraud that resulted in the loss of VAT. during the years 2021 and 2022, amounting to 30,700,000 euros.

In this context in our country, a 63-year-old and a 37-year-old man were arrested by police officers of the Sub-Directorate for the Protection of Property Rights, Cultural Heritage and the Environment of the Attica Security Directorate, following relevant European warrants issued by the Cologne Germany Office of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office, for fraud (joint tax evasion in a particularly severe case).

The case concerns the investigation of the action of a criminal organization with the scope of the continuous commission of cross-border fraud regarding the VAT. in which a domestic company that markets electronic devices plays a central role.

How did the circuit work?

As it turned out, the company in question was importing, directly or through third-party companies from European Union countries, products worth millions of euros, which it then sold through third-party local companies to the final consumer without paying VAT. which accounted for or carried out exports to countries of the European Union with the third companies requesting the VAT refund.

In order to cover their action, they carried out the transactions through successive sales in the form of a “carousel” circuit and a “disappearing merchant” type fraud, thus balancing the VAT. that came from the above sales, presenting equal amounts of VAT in the respective periodic statements. outputs and inputs.

Finally, they proceeded to legalize their income by mixing it with other legal assets they possessed and used them in their financial activities or in the purchase of various assets, concealing their origin and the manner of disposal.

Checks on five companies and ten houses

During the operation in our country, by employees of the Directorate of Research and Public Revenue Assurance of Thessaloniki of A.A.D.E. (Y.E.D.E.), with the assistance of police officers from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, in the presence of police officers from the Sub-Directorate for the Protection of Property Rights, Cultural Heritage and the Environment, as well as in some investigations in the presence of German Criminal Tax Auditors, checks were carried out in -5 – facilities of the companies under investigation and in a total of -10- houses of involved persons in Western Attica, where they were found and seized:

a large volume of digital and physical files related to their turnover, for further processing, evaluation and exploitation,

-10- vehicles, mostly luxury,
-260,470- euros in cash,
-8- laptops,
-5-tablets and -7- computer units,
-33- mobile phones,
-17- digital data storage units (USB STICKS)
SIM card, memory stick, -2- micro SD,
device for cryptocurrency accounts,
-24- cards (debit, prepaid, credit) of various banking institutions,
-24- watches of various brands,
-5- air guns and
lots of notes.

In addition, as part of the investigations, a 26-year-old man was also arrested for violating the legislation on addictive substances, who was then released on the verbal order of the competent Prosecutor.

Those arrested with warrants were taken to the Athens Prosecutor’s Office, which ordered their temporary detention, in order to hand them over to the German authorities