A multinational police operation, run by Bulgaria, Germany and Italy, raided 46 commercial and residential properties on Wednesday, as part of an ongoing investigation into allegations of tax fraud by the ’Ndrangheta mafia.
German police confirmed that 11 people, members of the Italian mafia ’Ndrangheta group, have been arrested so far in the raids, with the accused set to be swiftly brought before a magistrate.
The Bulgarian authorities detained one person, four were arrested in Germany, and six were captured in Italy, with evidence seized during the 46 raids, including some of the cars allegedly involved in the criminal activity.
The operation came after German authorities accused the Italian mafia group of forming a criminal organization that has engaged in tax fraud worth around €13 million ($15.12 million). A police statement alleged the tax fraud saw the accused claim value added tax by selling luxury vehicles multiple times across Europe.
Police in German have been investigating the claims for over a year with the assistance of the tax authorities, led by officials at the European Public Prosecutor’s Office.
Earlier this year, Europol launched an international operation against the ’Ndrangheta group over allegations it had been involved in drug-trafficking and money-laundering. Thirty-one members of the mafia organization were arrested in that operation, with 65 more accused of being involved with the group.
Italian officials claim the ’Ndrangheta is the most powerful mafia organization in the country, and thought to operate throughout Europe, with police alleging it has been responsible for moving drugs from South America to the continent.
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