On Wednesday, FPS Finance announced that Belgian customs has seized close to 66 million counterfeit cigarettes in a joint operation carried out by European and Asian customs. Belgian Customs participated in this international operation called JCO REPLICA, coordinated by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF). This operation took place in the ports of Antwerp and Zeebrugge. During this operation, Antwerp inspection services seized counterfeit brands of Marlboro, L & M and Mayfair.
During the first week of this operation 25 million cigarettes were found in a warehouse. Subsequently, four containers holding 40 million cigarettes were also discovered by Antwerp customs.
In Europe, a total of 130 million cigarettes have been seized. According to the SPF Finance, this fraud circumvented € 22 million worth of customs fees.
Andy Sanchez (Source: Belga)