Customs has intercepted 126 million counterfeit cigarettes since the beginning of the year, a record seizure, said the FPS Finance on Friday.
These cigarettes, whose final destination is unknown, came from Southeast Asia and represent an amount of 65 million euros in import duties, excise duties and VAT evaded. Eight people have been arrested and are being questioned. On January 9, customs seized 10 million cigarettes from a warehouse in Stabroek, in the province of Antwerp. This discovery led investigators to track other suspicious containers.
“In total, three containers were seized for a total of around 30 million cigarettes. Warehouses still containing around 86 million cigarettes were then discovered in Brecht (Antwerp) on January 16, 2020,” said SPF Finances.
The eight people arrested during the investigation are all of Turkish nationality. They are currently being interviewed. In 2019, Belgian customs intercepted 174 million cigarettes from either smuggling or illegal factories of dismantled cigarettes.
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