EU anti-fraud office orders Britain to repay 1.987 billion euros

The European Union headquarters in the Belgian capital, Brussels [Photo: Press TV]
The European Union (EU) headquarters in the Belgian capital, Brussels [Photo: Press TV]

The EU Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) on Wednesday ordered Britain to repay 1.987 billion euros ($2.1 billion) in lost customs duties for Chinese textile and footwear imports to the EU budget.

According to OLAF, a recent investigation between 2013 and 2016, revealed a major pattern of customs fraud, caused by declaring falsely low values for textiles and footwear from China.

OLAF said that the most significant hub for the fraudulent traffic was in Britain, and that the losses to the EU budget were on-going since the fraud has not been stopped to date.

The anti-fraud office also said that it had “repeatedly drawn the attention of the UK customs authorities (HMRC) over the last years to the scale of the phenomenon and to the ongoing revenue losses.”

“As far as OLAF is aware, the UK authorities have not introduced risk profiles and the measures that they have taken do not appear to have curbed this traffic.

“To date, they have not initiated any criminal investigations in relation to these frauds either,” OLAF said in a statement.

Following the investigation, the European Commission will now have to decide whether to take measures and recoup the losses to the EU budget.

(dpa/NAN)

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