Author: Flavia Ndriollari (GDF), Giulia Anzidei (GDF)
Subcommittee: Law Enforcement Agencies
Recently, Guardia di Finanza concluded an important and complex investigation which made it possible to recover over 13 million euros deriving from VAT evasion. The operation, called “Mulino-Komosechiama“, was conducted by the tax police department of the Guardia di Finanza of Milan (Nucleo di polizia economico – finanziaria, which deals with the most significant criminal investigations), together with the Criminal Police Department of Northern Upper Bavaria, coordinated and directed by Anti-Mafia Prosecutor’s Office in Milan, as well as by the offices of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office in Milan and Munich.
Initially, the investigative activities only led to implications regarding illicit drug trafficking which involved a criminal organisation connected to the Calabrian ‘Ndrangheta. Only later, the investigators discovered that the latter had also committed a major VAT fraud, perpetrated throughout the European Union, in the sector of the luxury car trade.
The operation led to the arrest of 14 people, who have residence in Italy and abroad, as well as to the execution of a preventive seizure, ordered by the German judicial authority, for over 13 million euros, corresponding to the VAT evasion perpetrated in 12 European countries. The details of the VAT fraud scheme and the important implications that this operation had for EPPO are reported in the recent publication called Why EPPO is a real “Game-changer” for cross-border financial investigations within the European Union, written by Colonel Giuseppe D’Urso – Commander of the Nucleo P.E.F. Milano – and by Captain Lorenzo Savastano – Head of the Operations Section of the Nucleo P.E.F. Milano.
The article illustrates how, in the context of a complex criminal cross – border investigation, EPPO has a key role in reducing bureaucracy, providing, to the police investigators and to the authorities of the several Member States involved, the instruments to quickly execute the strategic decisions adopted by all these judicial and police actors, ensuring a high grade of effectiveness to the investigations.
With EPPO, a new scenario opens up for judicial and police cooperation in Europe, which increasingly defines the Guardia di Finanza as the best strategic solution, on an operational level, to support the new European Investigative Office: due to the specific competencies of Guardia di Finanza and to the strong similarity between the Corps strategic mission and the EPPO’s mandate, the investigative alliance between the Corps and EPPO has the potential to bring the fight against financial crime to a level of cooperation never experienced before, as occurred in this case.
In fact, the powers of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office allow the Corps to be able to use its cross-sectoral approach by reducing the lengthy procedure that used to distinguish the international investigative scenario, with regard to the international cooperation, until the establishment of the EPPO. Furthermore, these powers have also allowed the Guardia di Finanza to use new investigative tools, extremely effective in the fight of cross-border crimes, such as the investigative measures foreseen by the articles 30 and 31 of the EPPO Regulation.
To find out more about the “Mulino-Komosechiama” operation and to discover why EPPO is a real “Game-changer” for cross-border financial investigations, you can consult the following article, also published in the magazine Panorama Tributario e Professionale, February 2023 edition. To view additional content, please visit the website of Guardia di Finanza’s editorial body, available at the following link https://www.enteeditoriale.it, where it is possible to subscribe to the magazine.