Swedish Police Investigating $13 Million Chinese Garlic Smuggling Scam

Swedish police have issued arrest warrants for two British men suspected of being behind a multi-million dollar scheme to smuggle garlic into the country.

The Local reports that the pair are believed to have been involved in shipping garlic from China to Norway and then illegally taking it over the border into Sweden. The aim of the scam was to avoid the EU's high import duties on garlic (9.6 percent) by importing them first to Norway, where there is no import duties on garlic.

Police believe 100 tonnes of garlic may have been smuggled across the border, avoiding around €10 million or $13.1 million in taxes, before a truck full of garlic was caught in 2010.

"We're talking about big money and a profitable operation," one prosecutor told a local newspaper.

Smuggling Chinese garlic into the EU has become big business.

Last month, the UK sentenced one man to six years in prison after evading around $3.2 million in customs duty while importing Chinese garlic, the AP reports. Meanwhile, Ireland's top food producers was sentenced to six year in prison last year for avoiding $1.8 million in import taxes by listing Chinese garlic as apples.

Norway has had it's own problems with food smuggling recently. In 2011, a butter shortage apparently caused by low-carb diets and "Soviet conditions"' in the Norwegian butter industry led to a number of incidents of butter smuggling.



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