Liège Airport fraud suspects released by police

Liège Airport fraud suspects released by police
Credit: Belga/Laurent Cavenati

Four suspects arrested by police during a wave of searches at Liège Airport, and other locations across the country, have been released by police after questioning, L’Écho reports.

On Wednesday, police and tax officials descended onto the airport to investigate suspected VAT fraud worth €300 million being committed by a string of Chinese commercial and logistics companies. The suspects were alleged to have abused tax exemption laws, running a “missing trader” fraud scheme.

The raids were carried out in connection with the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) and Europol, and was set to be one of the largest fraud busts in the EPPO’s history.

In a surprising turn of events, from what appeared to be a closed case for European tax authorities, four suspects initially arrested during the searches have been released by a Dinant investigating judge, who did not even hear their case.

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A judicial source told L’Écho that the release of the suspects was indeed surprising, but that they may still be charged later in the course of the investigation, which is still ongoing.

So far, thousands of parcels with a value of more than €1,000 each have been seized by investigators at the affected companies. Company offices are being shuttered by police in Grâce-Hollogne, near Liège, and at the Flemish port of Zeebrugge.

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