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Vienna, 07 September 2012 Major blow dealt to international cigarette mafia Austrian customs play key role in uncovering illegal cigarette factory in Slovakia

Austrian, German and Slovak observation and customs investigation teams have successfully executed a cross-border initiative against a criminal network of international cigarette counterfeiters and smugglers.

Thanks to the outstanding quality of information provided by the Austrian authorities, their Slovak colleagues were able to uncover a production facility for the manufacture of illegal cigarettes close to the Slovak capital, Bratislava, as well as arrest seven perpetrators of Bulgarian origin. In addition, 5.5 million cigarettes were seized, having presumably been destined for the Austrian market. During the course of further official actions, six tonnes of fine-cut tobacco, as well as a production line for the manufacture and packaging of further counterfeit cigarettes, were successfully seized. Moreover, empty cigarette packs for several million cigarettes, also intended for the Austrian black market, were confiscated. 

Altogether, as a result of the excellent international cooperation between the customs authorities, a loss in tax revenue to the Austrian government totalling over EUR 80 million per year was averted. These successes are not only testament to the close, smooth-functioning cooperation between the countries involved, but also to the high degree of professionalism of the individual customs authorities concerned.