The Belgian police played a part in rounding up a gang operating on a European level that made almost half a million by using fraudulent fuel cards to fill up trucks and pay for tolls.
The police, in collaboration with judicial authorities, launched an investigation into several fraudulent refuelling operations in which copied fuel cards were used to fill up several trucks and lorries, mainly of Romanian origin. So far, the gains have been estimated at €420,000, according to the Federal Public Prosecutor.
The suspects copied fuel cards at petrol stations in Ghent and Beveren, and these were later used to fill up lorries across the country, as well as to charge the so-called On-Board Units, which are mandatory toll boxes that must be installed in all trucks in Belgium. By using these fake cards, they were able to drive on Belgian motorways and allocate the costs to other people.
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In recent days, arrests were made in Romania, but also in Spain, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Bulgaria and Austria. Several house searches were also carried out in Belgium, including two in Roeselare and one in Herent, at the homes of Romanian suspects.
Several suspects were questioned, including the managers of the transport companies involved in the fraud. "In Romania alone, where the focus of this action lies, 83 different companies with a total of 163 trucks are involved in this fuel card fraud," a statement read.
Three suspects of Romanian origin have so far been arrested in Belgium, and another seven in Romania, where a house was also seized.
"The investigating judge will decide later whether they will be brought before the court," the statement concluded.