In a complex anti-fraud operation concerning the parallel import of cars, the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO), in cooperation with the Civitavecchia Customs Office, on the 12th of December 2022 seized 28 new electric vehicles by a well-known car manufacturer at the Port of Rome (Italy).
The vehicles had been imported from China to Italy, and were destined for Austria, the place of residence of the importer.
The investigation showed that the importation of these vehicles into the EU was never authorised, either by the brand of the car company or by any of its agents or licensees – therefore constituting an illicit parallel import.
The cars were declared to the Customs Office of Civitavecchia – Port of Rome for a value shortly under €80 000, including the cost of transportation from China.
However, the real value of the imported vehicles is more than 10 times the value declared to customs. The taxable value of the shipment exceeds €900 000.
The EPPO’s Rome office, therefore, ordered the seizure of these cars, for the purpose of confiscating the profits of the crime of smuggling, in order to fully recover the damages to the national and EU budgets.
The importation of these cars at a much lower value would also have led to unfair competition within the EU automobile market.