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The Pest central county court has charged eight people with money laundering of over 210 million forints (EUR 510,000) committed in a criminal gang, in a case that had also been investigated by the European anti-fraud office OLAF, the chief prosecutor’s office said on Friday. According to the charges, two criminal gangs operated in 2019-2020 and their activities were connected to the sale of Chinese products in Europe. One of them was involved in submitting 5-10-times lower customs values for products than the real value in order to reduce the costs of customs clearance, the statement said. In an effort to maximise profits, the Chinese products were distributed throughout the EU with the help of fictitious companies in order to avoid paying VAT.
The other criminal gang led by a 37 year-old Chinese man organised the transfer of cash income from Spain through France, Italy, Slovenia and Budapest to Turkey where the money was deposited in Chinese bank accounts. Money transporters travelled by car to Budapest and then flew to Istanbul. An investigating team was set up by the authorities of Italy, Slovenia, France and Hungary, with the participation of Eurojust. OLAF and Europol also got involved in the work. Charges have been raised against three Hungarian and five Chinese men for money laundering and the production and use of counterfeit documents.