EUROPE: Investigation into fraudulent importation of bananas
Illegal trafficking in bananas had netted those responsible hundreds of millions of euros over two years, according to OLAF (the European Anti-Fraud Office). In June 2000, OLAF acted on information received to crack the smuggling ring. In the importation of bananas, EC rules entitle importers with a valid import licence (an AGRIM certificate) to lower customs duties on goods within the yearly quota compared to the duties levied on non-quota goods. License holders pay duties of €55 (US$) per tonne instead of €850 per tonne. In this case it was discovered that a number of unscrupulous operators obtained false import licences and used these to import bananas.
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