A shipment of 23 million untaxed cigarettes with a street value of 2 billion forints (EUR 4.9 million) was intercepted by the customs and tax authorities (NAV) from four Polish lorries near the Debrecen international airport in eastern Hungary, according to the authorities.
According to the information provided by NAV, the cigarettes manufactured in the United Arab Emirates were smuggled to Hungary by a cargo jet landing at the airport in Dubai.
The cigarettes were seized in a coordinated raid by Europol and Eurojust that included Austria and the Czech Republic.
NAV stated in the statement that four members of the ring have so far been identified, adding that three of the individuals are foreigners and the fourth is a citizen of Hungary.
The accomplice from Hungary in charge of organizing the delivery of the cigarettes to Europe was apprehended at a Debrecen hotel. According to NAV, a check of the man’s home turned up 49 expensive wristwatches, electronic files, seven luxury automobiles, and 300 million forints worth of foreign cash.
The individual is currently being held in pre-trial custody.
The three further suspects are the subject of an international warrant filed by the authorities.
Along with this, the organizations and firms in the United Arab Emirates produce cigarettes worth billions of dollars on an annual basis.
More than 20 companies are producing countless millions of cigarettes and other tobacco goods. Cigarettes are a significant industry: In 2018, the UAE exported cigarettes for €3 billion ($3.34 billion, 12 billion dirhams), ranking them third among non-oil exports behind raw aluminium and gold.
However, various studies and international organizations claim that a large portion of what is produced in the Emirates is intended to be illegally and tax-free sold in other markets.