A truck driver who tried to smuggle 9.6 million contraband cigarettes to Estonia has been sentenced to three years conditional imprisonment. The Tax and Customs Board (MTA) intercepted the truck which came from Latvia.
On June 17, the MTA stopped a truck with an Estonian number plate coming from Latvia in Valga County, Southern Estonia and found 9.6 million contraband cigarettes "Winston Blue" and "Winston Classic".
If these cigarettes had reached the Estonian market, the state would have lost almost €1.4 million in excise duties.
To clarify the circumstances, a criminal proceeding was started, which is lead by the Western District Prosecutor's Office. The driver was convicted for concealing the tax liability. He was sentenced to three years in prison with a five-year probationary period. He will also not be able to be active in any government bodies for three years.
"The message is that creating or participating in dishonest schemes must not pay off, and it must be as difficult as possible to continue such activities," prosecutor Helga Aadamsoo explained.
In the first half of this year, MTA employees have caught a total of 23.5 million contraband cigarettes. Last year, a total of 16.3 million contraband cigarettes were caught.
Deputy director general of the Tax and Customs Board Rivo Reitmann said the large number of illicit cigarettes discovered so far this year can be attributed to large individual cases.
Editor: Roberta Vaino