Jim Higgins MEP says a recent EU crackdown on tax evasion on imported bio-diesel is a warning to all those engaged in fuel fraud. The Fine Gael MEP, who is a member of the European Parliament’s Committee on Transport, was highlighting a recent 32 million euro fuel tax evasion case.
He said: “The latest report from the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) highlights a successful conviction against tax evasion on bio-diesel imported from India to Europe in December 2011.
“32 million euro was recovered in evaded import duties against the Indian company which was found to be importing biodiesel from the US and then re-exporting it to Europe as an Indian product. The company claimed that the product was reprocessed in India and therefore a new Indian product, despite its US origins. By declaring the fuel was of Indian origin, the company was avoiding extra costs placed on US bio-diesel since the 2009 anti-dumping duties were introduced.
“However, with the assistance of Belgium and Spain, OLAF was able to prove that the reprocessing of the fuel was not enough to constitute a new product and did not exempt it from duties.
“The case highlights the importance of international co-operation in the fight against fuel fraud. In relation to Ireland, and particularly the issue of illegal fuel laundering, I welcome the Minister for Transport, Leo Varadkar’s indication earlier this month that all relevant government departments and agencies will meet to discuss this issue soon.
“I have called for greater co-ordination on fuel laundering on many occasions as it continues to impact adversely on the exchequer, the border region and motorists,” Mr Higgins added.