The European Union’s Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) fined Greece 202.3 million euros ($231.22 million) for not stopping massive tax fraud by Chinese criminal gangs taking cheap goods through the port of Piraeus, which is operated by the Chinese company Cosco.
The criminal network dodged import duties and Value Added Tax (VAT) on imported footwear and clothing items, the news site Politico reported.
“OLAF can confirm that it has concluded an investigation concerning the fraudulent import of undervalued textiles and shoes into Greece in the period 1 January 2015 to 31 May 2018,” OLAF was quoted as telling Politico about the investigation.
“Based on its findings, OLAF has issued a financial recommendation to Greek Customs to recover the sum of 202.3 million euros in lost customs duties related to the fraudulently under-declared values for such products,” it added.
Politico said Greek officials had not commented on the OLAF report. China is the third biggest importer of goods into Chinese, racking up some $3.6 billion in 2016 but is trying to expand its business presence and acquire Greek enterprises and in 2017 was the honored guest at the Thessaloniki International Fair where scores of Chinese companies appeared.