By John Ensor •
Published: 27 Sep 2023 • 16:38
Investigation into Luxury car market.
A transnational criminal network, specialising in fraud within the luxury car market, has been dismantled.
On Wednesday, September 27, a report revealed how forty-nine individuals were arrested in Spain, marking the culmination of a joint operation led by the European Public Prosecutor’s Office, involving the National Police, the Guardia Civil, and the Tax Agency.
The intricate network, with links between Germany and Portugal, is accused of orchestrating a VAT fraud, amounting to a staggering €17 million, by manipulating complex evasion systems.
During the crackdown, agents conducted 14 searches across various provinces including Madrid, Badajoz, Leon, Vizcaya, Navarra, Granada, Caceres, Almeria, Teruel, Toledo, and Cantabria. The operation resulted in the seizure of four luxury cars and crucial documentation, alongside the freezing of 84 vehicles and 55 bank accounts, containing in excess of €500,000.
The investigation was launched early in 2021 and uncovered three instances of VAT fraud between 2019 and 2021. The criminals employed two elaborate strategies, manipulating the Special Regime for Used Goods and creating fictitious companies, to disguise transactions and exploit EU regulations on cross-border dealings.
Once in Spain, the luxury cars were destined for either sale to colluding dealerships across the country. Others were used to supply criminal organisations involved in drug trafficking with sports cars.
An extensive analysis of the banking activities of over 200 companies disclosed transactions totalling more than €661 million, predominantly funnelled from Spain to the network’s 24 companies in Portugal, and subsequently to the German suppliers of the vehicles.
The individuals arrested are allegedly accountable for defrauding more than €17 million through VAT fraud. In addition to the seizures, assets worth more than €240,000 were confiscated. The vehicles were either listed under front companies or used for narcotics transportation.
This operation has shed light on the intricate web of transnational VAT fraud in the luxury car market, revealing connections to drug trafficking and exposing the movement of substantial capital across borders. The collaborative efforts of various agencies have been instrumental in dismantling this elaborate scheme.
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
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