Malta, customs officials arrested in a European anti-fraud operation

VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – Eight Maltese nationals including five public officials have been arrested following an anti-fraud and anti-corruption investigation within the customs operations. The Maltese nationals were arrested following house searches in several locations.
The investigation was led by the European Public Prosecutor’s Office in Malta.
In a statement, the EPPO explained that the investigation is about a suspected fraudulent scheme intended to evade the payment of customs taxes and duties on the importation of clothing and other goods from China, by under-declaring their value and weight. This was allegedly done with the complicity of customs officials, who are believed to have been offered money to refrain from carrying out their duties properly.
Three of the suspects, representing two companies, are under investigation for orchestrating the scheme.
As part of the probe, the Malta Police Forcès Financial Crimes Investigations Department carried out searches at several locations around Malta, including customs offices, residences of the suspects and the registered addresses of the companies under investigation.
During the searches, three high-value vehicles and around 180,000 euros in cash were seized.
Measures have also been taken to block all funds and immoveable property belonging to the concerned suspects.
The crimes under investigation include customs fraud, corruption of public officials and money laundering. The damage to the EU budget is believed to run to millions of euro.

– photo: Malta Customs Office –


Source: medNews