UPDATED: 17. OCT 2019, AT 15:51

The biggest illegal factory in central Europe has caused millions in damages

47 people have been arrested. They can spend up to eight years in prison.

(Source: SITA)

The Financial Administration has uncovered the biggest illegal cigarette producing plant in central Europe. They discovered three illegal factories, millions of illegal cigarettes and lots of tobacco in a village in the Trnava Region.

47 people have been arrested, the TASR newswire reported.

“The Financial Administration has been successful in its interventions in the illegal production and sale of tobacco products on several occasions this year,” said Lenka Wittenbergerová, head of the Financial Administration, as quoted by TASR.

As she admitted, the recently uncovered production of cigarettes is the biggest case in Slovakia, and probably also in central Europe.

Criminalists of the FS SR have already quantified the damage against state budget. On excise tax on tobacco products alone it is said to be as high as about €2.5 million.

Foreign nationals detained

The investigators of the Financial Administration’s criminal office carried out an operation in the night hours, focusing on the production of illegal cigarettes and the plants in three different places in Slovakia. The cases are linked.

They seized an illegal tobacco transport from a lorry crossing the border into Slovakia and discovered stores full of filters, tobacco and other components in Bratislava’s Vajnory borough and the village of Veľké Kostoľany, near Piešťany (Trnava Region), where they also revealed three production lines and many illegal cigarettes.

The people detained were of the Romanian, Moldavan and Ukrainian nationality. The suspects already stand accused of a crime of violating national technical measures on the labelling of goods. They could spend between three and eight years in prison, the FS SR said in its October 16 press release.

Successful year

The Financial Administration has been successful in revealing the illegal production of cigarettes, said Wittenbergerová.

“As well as the latest case, we have prevented 30 million illegally made cigarettes, 50 tonnes of tobacco and thousands of cigars from entering the European market this year,” she added, as quoted by TASR.

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