The Chinese-born main customer from Graz then resold most of them on their website. On February 10, she was sentenced to high fines by the Graz Regional Court, which was not legally binding.
“A total of around 100,000 euros in taxes were evaded in the case. The court judgment now available gives the woman fines totaling over 400,000 euros. The Austrian customs have once again successfully investigated internationally and thus not only protect the honest economy, but also the consumers”, said finance minister Magnus Brunner.
Curiously enough, the perpetrator got the case rolling herself – she reported a competitor who had not ordered the plums from her, but directly from the Chinese criminal group. In the course of this complaint, the accused revealed such extensive insider knowledge regarding the procedures of the internationally active group of criminals from China that the customs authorities quickly became suspicious. The subsequent investigations against the woman revealed that she had been using the same illegal distribution channel to a large extent for years, the use of which she had now reported to her competitor.
The group of perpetrators acted very cunningly when smuggling: the plums, which were sent by plane from Shanghai to London Heathrow, were received by accomplices of the group and falsely declared to British customs as clothing of “low value”. Due to this false declaration, the latter did not prescribe any duties and an express service took over the packages as Union goods in order to deliver them duty-free to Austria. This is where the woman from Graz came into play, who, as the main buyer, sold the plums to other business partners and end consumers, although she had to be able to prove that the goods came to Austria duty unpaid and untaxed.