SPAIN’S Inland Revenue (La Agencia Tributaria) has shut down a diesel distribution network that could have defrauded €11 million.
Operation Copernicus was launched to dismantle a modified diesel distribution chain set up to avoid tax controls, and has led to 43 arrests and 19 searches of offices and homes.
The diesel was sold in various autonomous communities to ‘low cost’ or ‘white label’ service stations, with a double tax benefit: non-payment of the Hydrocarbon Tax thanks to the adulteration of the product, and also of the VAT by not paying the tax charged to its customers.
In order to carry out its organised fraud activity, the organisation allegedly acquired products in other EU member states “with characteristics that were practically identical to those of automotive diesel, but specially designed to be able to circulate to Spain outside the Community tax control procedures.”
The organisation had a whole network of companies and collaborators that seemingly played a part in the operation: companies that invoiced and received the money, national and international transport companies, unloading facilities, suppliers, as well as a whole network of salesmen under different guises.
The Tax Agency confirmed properties, high-end vehicles and more than 100 bank accounts and cash have been seized during the operation, covering eight Spanish regions.