Bulgaria - do producers support contraband cigarettes??

Simeon Djankov..
February 17, 2010 - The huge amount of contraband cigarettes seized yesterday, February 16th by Varna Customs creates the impression that producers in Bulgaria tacitly support contraband. So a full inspection is necessary," the Finance Minister, Simeon Djankov said on Wednesday, February 17th referring to the discovery of illicit cigarettes worth between BGN 1,6 M and BGN 1,8 M in the Port of Varna - see map. This amount was almost twice the value of all of the cigarettes confiscated during the past year. Djankov pointed out that the company in recipient of the shipment, "Board 17" Ltd, had been established in December 2009 and had not registered for VAT (value added tax).

Revenues and Customs agencies teams are due to make complete inventories of tobacco products held in these warehouses and to compare them with the companies’ records. Inspectors are due also to verify the contractual relationships of Bulgarian traders with foreign companies.

Meanwhile, Bulgaria’s Center for the Study of Democracy has reported that annual revenues from illegal activities, including the trade in illicit cigarettes, amounts to at least BGN4 billion to BGN5 billion, a figure that doesn’t include money generated through illegal financial schemes, the illegal trafficking of historic objects, and money generated from the gray economy.

Reference: Bulgaria Customs Capture Contraband Cigarettes Worth BGN 1,6 M, Novinite.com, 1/16/2009.

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