Group of Lithuanians and Latvians busted over €8m VAT fraud

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In Lithuania, a group of Lithuanian and Latvian citizens has been busted on the suspicion of selling fuel and hiding about 8 million euros in gains from VAT fraud, reported BNS Monday.

"In cooperation with the State Tax Inspectorate and the Financial Crime Investigation Service, we received information about failure to pay 8 million euros in VAT to the state budget for selling fuel, i.e., retail trade of fuel," senior prosecutor Darius Valkavicius of Kaunas told the media on Monday.

The investigation was opened in June. Five suspects were detained last week. Of them, four have been placed in custody for periods ranging from 10 to 30 days. The law-enforcement said the detainees were organizers of the criminal activities. Three of them are Latvian citizens.

The probe revealed that illegal dealings with fuel were conducted in Latvia, Estonia, Poland and Romania, with VAT declarations forged to hide VAT gains.

During the probe, Lithuanian prosecutors cooperated with Latvian law-enforcement institutions. Simultaneous searches were carried out in both countries, revealing equipment and documents that confirm the criminal activities.

Prosecutors have so far refused to identify the companies linked to the criminal scheme.

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