Dismantled a network of tax fraud in hydrocarbons that distributed modified diesel throughout Spain
22 people arrested and another 200 investigated, physical and legal, in Spain and in several European countries for alleged tax crime, money laundering and belonging to a criminal organization
Three storage facilities and ten homes have been registered, and more than 130,000 liters of modified diesel, 1,800,000 euros in national and foreign bank accounts, 45,000 euros in cash, 14 trucks for distribution, three vehicles have been seized. high-end, 19 mobile terminals, 12 computers and ten buildings
The organization, directed from Eastern European countries and with managers along the entire Mediterranean coast, was structured in independent cells so that some could continue to function if others were detected, and had a large number of instrumental companies and front men
In addition to the damage caused by tax fraud, estimated at 50 million euros, the operation of the plot caused damage to the final consumer and unfair competition in the hydrocarbon sector
The Civil Guard and the Tax Agency have completed an extensive investigation, under the name of Operation Casinos-Brulajo, developed over more than a year that has allowed to dismantle a complex organization of tax fraud in the hydrocarbon sector with the capacity to distribute modified diesel throughout the national territory. So far 22 people of Spanish, Polish, Ukrainian, Georgian and Algerian nationalities have been arrested. Similarly, another 200 individuals and legal entities have been investigated in Spain and in several European countries for alleged tax crime, money laundering and belonging to a criminal organization.
The plot had a complete distribution chain, which included supplies from Eastern Europe, warehousing in Spain, transport companies and the final distribution network to the consumer. Directed from Eastern European countries and with managers along the entire Mediterranean coast, the organization was structured into independent cells so that some could continue to function if others were detected.
During the exploitation phase of the operation, deployed last week, four 'gas centers' have been registered, three are in Valencia, specifically in the towns of Xativa, Paterna and Silla and another in Murcia, all of them clandestine, being dismantled after the operation. More than 130,000 liters of modified diesel, 1,800,000 euros in national and foreign bank accounts, 45,000 in cash, 14 trucks for distribution, three high-end vehicles, 19 mobile terminals, 12 computers and ten buildings were seized.
Organization with figureheads and instrumental societies
The investigation had its origins in actions carried out by the National Office of Inspection and Investigation of Customs and the Investigation Team of the Regional Unit of Customs and Special Taxes of the Tax Agency in Valencia.
From that moment, the Examining Court number 9 of Valencia will direct the police investigation with the opening of preliminary proceedings, after the complaint presented by the Provincial Prosecutor for Economic Crimes of Valencia, with the help of the Tax Agency and the participation as judicial police of both the Customs Surveillance of the Tax Agency, and the Civil Guard.
The investigators detected that the criminal organization acquired in various countries of the European Union hydrocarbons for the automotive sector modified in their technical composition to avoid community fiscal controls, and finally sold them at service stations known as' white label 'or' low cost '. In total, more than 30 of these gas stations distributed throughout the province of Valencia that were supplied by this organization have been located.
The tax benefit of this activity was twofold: on the one hand, the non-payment of the Special Tax on Hydrocarbons, thanks to the adulteration of the product; on the other, the lack of entry to the Public Treasury of the VAT that they passed on to their customers.
All of this was carried out through a business structure that included a large number of instrumental companies and figureheads. The network also had different storage and distribution centers for all of Spain. The investigation has made it possible to identify ten clandestine "gas centers" that distributed the product throughout the Spanish geography.
In addition to the damage caused by tax fraud, estimated at 50 million euros, the operation of the plot caused damage to free competition and fraud to the final consumer. The sale prices of the product were significantly lower than the market price, making it extremely difficult to compete with other service stations that were already being affected by the drop in activity derived from the pandemic.
A product harmful to engines
Regarding consumer fraud, due to its composition this hydrocarbon escaped community controls before its arrival in Spain and, therefore, lacked quality guarantees, so its continued use in vehicles could lead to significant damage to vehicles. engines. The modified hydrocarbon that the network introduced from Eastern countries did not comply with Spanish tax and industrial regulations.
This modified hydrocarbon was initially received at the organization's facilities, and from there it was distributed to non-flagged service stations through national hydrocarbon carriers, precisely to separate – and thus hide – the relationship between the foreign trucks that brought the product to Spain and the 'low cost' service stations that sold it to the final consumer. For this same reason, the organization had established an extensive network of shell companies and distribution centers to hide the illicit origin of the product.
In the operational deployment last week, agents of the Civil Guard in the Valencian Community and 80 officials of the Tax Agency participated, including personnel of the Customs Surveillance Service of the Tax Agency, of the Group of Crimes against the Patrimony of the UOPJ of the Civil Guard, Inspectors and Finance Technicians of the Investigation Team of the Regional Customs and Special Taxes Unit of the AEAT in Valencia, Patrols of the Fiscal and Borders and Citizen Security service of the Civil Guard as well as IT Support Units of the AEAT itself.
The collaboration displayed by Eurojust in the execution of various seizures of bank accounts abroad has also been essential.
The operation is still open and new operational actions are not ruled out after the analysis of the documentation and computer files intervened.