An investigation into a suspected organised crime group trading luxury cars, conducted by the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) in Paris and Bulgaria’s capital Sofia, has led to searches carried out in several locations on Tuesday and Wednesday, EPPO said on July 20.
The suspected criminal group, active in several European Union countries, is believed to be laundering the proceeds of criminal activity by trading luxury cars, without paying VAT. The invoices for the purchase and sale of more than 200 luxury cars, discovered during the searches, are being analysed.
The illegal activities date back to 2018, causing an estimated damage to the EU budget of at least €11 million.
The searches were carried out in Sofia, Varna and Vinograd (Bulgaria), in order to seize evidence and proceeds of the crimes. During the probe, 73 000 euro in cash was seized, as well as gold and foreign currencies.
Searches had already been carried out in France by the EPPO’s Paris office, in June, with the support of the Financial Judicial Investigation Service (Service d’Enquêtes Judiciaires des Finances – SEJF).
The investigative measures carried out this week counted on the support of Bulgaria’s National Investigative Service and Bulgaria’s General Directorate for Combating Organised Crime, EPPO said.