Carousel fraud in Belgium reached almost €45 million in 2018, rising significantly from last year's figures, according to a joint report by Flemish daily De Tijd and German investigative media Correctiv.The investigation, published by L'Echo, which also looked at figures in Romania, Greece and France, concluded that Belgium's public coffers had lost out €44.83 million in tax, suggesting a significant increase in relation to 2017 figures, which sat at €17 million.
Carousel fraud occurs when the Value Added Tax (VAT) system's loopholes are used by individuals to unduly charge and claim back VAT.
Initially common in the mobile phone and electronics sector, the practice has extended into other markets and concerns products from as oil, gasoline, and diesel to sugar and meat.
Over the last 10 years, Belgium's losses to carousel fraud amount to over €405 euros, with 2009 being the worst year on record, as over €93 million leaked through the cracks.
The Brussels Times