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Criminal organisation suspected of illegally importing nearly one million pharmaceutical tablets

A company registered in the Channel Islands allegedly shipped millions of euros' worth of drugs and other products into Finland.

Varastossa olevia lähetyksiä, jotka liittyvät epäiltyyn rikosvyyhtiin.
Finnish Customs suspects a company registered in the Channel Islands of illegally importing millions of euros of pharmaceuticals and other products to Finland. Image: Tulli

Finnish Customs suspects a company registered in the Channel Islands of illegally importing millions of euros of medications and other products.

About 772,000 pharmaceutical tablets were shipped from the US to Finland's autonomous Åland Islands without a license from the Finnish Medicines Agency (Fimea), along with about 200,000 tablets classified as doping substances. The company also shipped foodstuffs and animal feed from the US to Finland.

When the goods arrived in Åland, they were sold via an online store within the European Union area.

Of the two companies involved in the operation, one was from Åland. The Åland company then took the products shipped to Finland and registered them under its own name, thereby being able to deduct the VAT on importation from its own taxation.

A range of offences

The goods shipped to Finland were labelled with an incorrect tariff heading, and thus paid low taxes. Additionally, the custom’s notice listed the wrong company on the shipping label, which is illegal.

The arrangement allowed the companies to benefit from Åland’s special taxation status. Finnish Customs suspects that the companies intentionally circumvented paying taxes to the tune of at least 2.2 million euros.

The 12 suspects include Finns and citizens of other countries.

The case, which features a range of charges including aggravated tax fraud and aggravated drug smuggling, will proceed to the prosecutor later in November.

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