OFFICERS from both Spanish National Police and the Tax Office have managed to close down the activities of a gang allegedly involved in tax avoidance and money laundering.
A total of 58 people have been arrested in Spain, Belgium, Portugal and Germany and are believed to be responsible for a scam amounting to €60 million.
The group were caught following ‘Operation Dreams’, set up in 2015 following a report from the Committee for the Prevention of Money Laundering that highlighted €250 million of fake invoices that had been raised during a period of three years. They had been issued by non-existent businesses based across the world in Spain, Italy, Hungary, Rumania, Germany, Bulgaria, Portugal, Belgium, Cyprus and the USA, and the majority of those arrested are Spanish, many already known to the authorities because of their police records.
The investigation resulted in searches carried out at 62 separate addresses in Spain which included some in Alicante, Elche and Murcia.
According to the Spanish media, the organisation – with its headquarters in Madrid and Elche – was allegedly being managed by two men (a father and son of Indian origin but holding Spanish nationality) for more than nine years. One the Spanish tax authorities first showed some interest in their activities back in 2014, the pair left the country to continue their operation from the USA.
The scams revolved around selling electronic devices that undercut major companies as well as importing luxury cars into Spain, also without paying the required VAT.
Computers, software, a firearm, 52 luxury cars and a total of €400,000 in cash have been uncovered during the investigation.