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    2.5bn YTL pocketed in Kapikule duty-free scam

    Hürriyet Haber
    12.02.2006 - 14:08 | Son Güncelleme:

    Two indictments made over smuggling at Kapikule, imply that the State has been swindled out of 2.5 billion New Turkish Liras (YTL) in taxes. Four companies and 50 individuals have been named and accused in the indictment. The first indictment was made to the Edirne Customs Officers’ over a series of bribery, corruption and smuggling incidents, which took place back in December 2005. Kaan Yuksel, a Public Prosecutor for the Republic, has prepared two indictments in which 50 ‘duty freers’ are implicated. The individuals concerned have been accused of organised smuggling.

    The methods they employed to smuggle the duty-free items are listed one by one in the indictment. The State is said to have lost 2.5 billion YTL as a result of the scams.

    How does the system work?

    • Each duty-free shop works with 5-6 smugglers, and each of these smugglers set up groups of 30-40 people who cross the border several times in one day.
    • These people have a duty-free allowance of up to 4 bottles of alcoholic drinks, 3 cartons of cigarettes and one box of cigars. When passenger vehicles arrive at the border, smugglers load their own lorries with goods bought at a duty-free shop, using up the duty-free allowance of passengers.
    • During this process, bribes were paid to border Customs Officers and Police.
    • The lorry then went to Edirne and met with people who work with the smugglers. The goods are taken to a warehouse. Passengers are paid around 2,000-3,000 Euros, depending on the role they play in the smuggling process.
    • The goods are then taken to Istanbul where they are sold through a distribution web, and the duty-free shops are paid for the goods. The untaxed profits are then theirs to keep.

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