German prosecutors and customs have arrested a group of 8 people accusing them of beer tax fraud of more than 32 million euros between April 2017 and December 2018. The suspects are said to have taxed 3,300 truckloads of French beer in the Würzburg area in Germany, but in fact exported it to the United Kingdom.
According to Christian Schüttenkopf, spokesman for the Customs Investigation Office in Munich, a company in Eisingen (Würzburg area) has played an important role in the fraud. It registered a wholesale at the premise and pretended to unload, pick anew and to resell the French beer. But only about 20 of the total of 3,300 truckloads arrived in Eisingen.
Beer tax in Germany is around 9 euros per hectoliter as opposed to France where it is roughly 35 euros per hectoliter. The group therefore saved 26 euros, the investigators reported on Monday. Since the beer was sold on the black market in the UK, where the beer is normally taxed at a rate of 103 euros per hectoliter, the group is said to have saved there additional tens of millions of euros in taxes.
It is not the first time that the differences in beer tax in Europe have been used by criminals for tax fraud. Similar cases happened in Germany in 2016 in the area around Hof and in 2013 in the Karlsruhe area.