For several days, detectives of the Bureau of Economic Security of Ukraine have been conducting urgent investigative actions in warehouses in the Odessa region. The pre-trial investigation established that the officials of the companies, using the enterprises under their control, organized the illegal production of cigarettes of well-known brands with forged excise tax stamps.
More than 1.2 million packs of tobacco products with a market value of UAH 70 million have been identified and seized. The cigarettes were pasted with excise tax stamps with signs of counterfeiting. An examination of these excise stamps has already been carried out, which confirmed that they do not correspond to the control copies produced by the state-owned enterprise “Ukraine Printing Plant”.
Also, an expert of Kyiv Scientific Research Institute of Forensic Expertise was involved in the searches, and samples of tobacco products were selected for comprehensive (chemical and commodity) examination. BEB employees remove tobacco raw materials weighing almost 20 tons, with an estimated value of UAH 10 million. In addition, equipment for the mass production of tobacco products, 2 lines for their packaging and other necessary components were found in the warehouses. In particular, such equipment can produce an average of 3,000 cigarettes per minute, which is more than 2 million packs per month. The estimated cost of equipment and components for the production of cigarettes is UAH 70 million.
According to BES specialists’ estimates, losses from non-payment of taxes by these companies amount to UAH 90 million per month. The illegal production of tobacco products has been stopped. Filling the market with a large batch of counterfeit cigarettes is biased.
Pretrial investigation in criminal proceedings under Part 1 of Art. 199 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (production, storage, sale of counterfeit excise tax stamps) and Part 2 of Art. 204 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (illegal manufacture of tobacco products) is carried out by detectives of the main detective unit of the Bureau of Economic Security of Ukraine under the procedural guidance of prosecutors of the Prosecutor General’s Office.