Three arrested in Portugal for tax evasion on fuel imported from Spain

Police
Police in Lisbon – GERARDO SANTOS / ZUMA PRESS / CONTACTOPHOTO

The Portuguese Tax Agency arrested three suspects Thursday for involvement in an alleged VAT fraud scheme involving fuel imported from Spain and sold in Portugal through a chain of resellers, with an estimated damage of more than 26 million euros.

Fifteen companies and five individuals are suspected of involvement and 21 searches ordered by a judge have also been carried out in the cities of Aveiro, Porto and Lisbon.

According to the investigation, the scheme also allowed the suspects to place fuel on the market at lower prices, thus gaining an illicit advantage over honest economic operators.

The three detainees, who are charged with crimes of tax fraud, criminal association and money laundering, will be brought before the court for the application of the respective coercive measures.

In addition to the arrests, the operation has also led to the seizure of 16 properties, 24 vehicles (some of them luxury vehicles), seven shareholdings and bank accounts worth 11 million euros.

The operation involved a total of 50 tax inspectors from the Customs Anti-Fraud Directorate («Direção Antifraude Aduaneira»), the Finance Directorate of Porto («Direção de Finanças do Porto») and the Portuguese Technical and Computer Forensics Unit, in collaboration with officers from the Portuguese Public Security Police (PSP).

The operation, led by the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO), also involved two Deputy European Public Prosecutors and two investigating judges.