Following the resumption of the freight train inspection scanning device at the railway border crossing with Ukraine in Maťovce two weeks ago, Slovak customs officers have found smuggled cigarettes on one of the trains. They now scan the trains beginning from the fourth car and subsequently made a thorough examination of one of the freight cars. Under a load of iron ore they found 600 cartons of cigarettes with Ukrainian revenue stamps packed in black plastic bags.
The spokesperson for the customs office in Michalovce, Klára Baloghová, told the SITA newswire on September 24 that tax and customs duty evasion in this case would have exceeded €14,764. This was the first contraband found after the scanner was switched back on in September. Monitoring of trains using this device was stopped under pressure from the Ukrainian railway company on August 18.
The scanner allegedly endangered the health of Ukrainian engine drivers - this was the official reason for a blockade when Kiev stopped the transport of freight trains to Slovakia with raw materials for Slovak companies. The scanning device has been switched back on after nearly a month after Slovakia and Ukraine agreed on resumption of its operation. However, the engine car and first two freight cars are still inspected manually, as Slovakia will temporarily not be scanning whole trains until the results of an independent expertise by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are presented. SITA
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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