Home NEWS Valencia gang arrested over €14 million VAT high-end car fraud

Valencia gang arrested over €14 million VAT high-end car fraud

High-end cars were seized in the police raids. Image: Guardia Civil

The Guardia Civil in Valencia has arrested 23 people who were allegedly involved in a 14 million euro high-end car VAT fraud

A Valencia-based VAT fraud scheme that operated in the automotive industry, mostly dealing with high-end cars, has been busted by the Guardia Civil, the Hacienda, and Europol.

As a result of the alleged “Operation Cavallino” in Valencia, Torrent, Bétera, Llria, Pobla de Vallbona, Marines, and Olocau, 23 people have been detained. In addition, 75 vehicles, 44 bank accounts, and 17 properties were confiscated, along with ‘other items’.

Based on an estimation from the police forensics team, the total value of items seized in the raid makes it more feasible to regain a large portion of the more than 14 million euros that the organisation would have fraudulently obtained.

Shell companies

The investigations began in 2021 when the National Fraud Investigation Office (ONIF) and the Regional Inspection Unit of the Hacienda in Valencia, together with the Guardia Civil, were alerted to an organisation based in Valencia that used a complex network of instrumental companies (‘shell’ companies) that, managed by front men, imported the vehicles into Spain.

Previously, the organisation registered these shell companies in the Register of Intra-Community Operators and, through them, they ‘virtually’ acquired the vehicles from their supplier based in Germany.

After a long and complex investigation, the alleged members were finally arrested between November and December of this year. In total, 23 people have been arrested, a mix of Spanish and Romanian nationality. 18 of them men and five women.

The detainees are accused of crimes against the Public Treasury, money laundering, and belonging to a criminal organisation.

Millions of euros seized

In addition to the arrests, the operation has resulted in the seizure of a total of 75 vehicles valued at more than seven million euros – including 18 high-end vehicles, valued at two million euros.

The accounts of 14 people and 30 companies totalling 1,350,000 euros have also been seized, including 17 properties with an estimated value of 3,000,000 euros, seven watches valued at more than 100,000 euros, six computers, six mobile phones, and abundant documentation, both in physical and digital format.

During the investigation, the Spanish agencies received the support and cooperation of Europol, which has acted as an intermediary body for the exchange of information with other countries of the European Union, especially, on this occasion, with Germany.

This is the first (and highly successful) VAT fraud plot operation directed and coordinated by the European Public Prosecutor’s Office in Spain. The proceedings have been delivered to the European Public Prosecutor’s Office in Spain.

Further arrests have not been ruled out once the review and analysis of the copious amounts of seized documentation have been completed.

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