Based on the information provided by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), the Metropolitan Chief Public Prosecution Office has indicted eight men for money laundering committed by an organized criminal group. The value exceeded HUF 210 million (approx 700.000 EUR).
According to the indictment, between 2019 and 2020, two organized criminal groups conducted operations whose activities were linked to selling of products originating from China in the European Union. One of these criminal organizations acted in front of the customs clearance in Hungary and used false documents in which the value of the customs goods were indicated at a 5-10 lower price than their real value, thus the amount of customs duty imposed was significantly lower than what it should have been. In order to maximise profits further, the mandators of the organized criminal group - perpetrators of the organisation, operating in other EU Member States - sold the goods thus cleared and released for free circulation throughout the EU through a network of fictitious companies, without paying the VAT due on the sale.
The other organized criminal group - in which a 37-year-old Chinese man, one of the defendants in this case, played a leading role - organised and executed the transportation of the cash proceeds from the previous offence from Spain via France and Italy, Slovenia and Budapest to Turkey, where they were paid into Chinese bank accounts. The cash couriers - the other defendants in the case - travelled to Budapest, sometimes in switched cars, and from the capital to Istanbul by plane.
A joint investigation team was set up by the Italian, Slovenian, French and Hungarian authorities, with the assistance of Eurojust, which - through the mutual sharing of evidence as well - contributed to the successful investigation,. OLAF and Europol were also involved in the work of the joint investigation team.
The Metropolitan Chief Public Prosecution Office submitted charges against 3 Hungarian and 5 Chinese men to the Pest Central District Court for the felony of money laundering committed by an organized criminal group, felony of forgery of public documents and the misdemeanour of use of forged private documents. Two of the Chinese defendants are fugitives and were charged in their absence, as allowed by the Hungarian procedural law. Two of the accused people are currently under criminal supervision, while another defendant is in pre-trial detention in another case.
The Metropolitan Chief Public Prosecution Office has filed the motions that the court shall sentence all the defendants to imprisonment and fine, declare that they are not eligible for parole, deprive the Hungarian defendants of civil rights and order the Chinese defendants to be expelled from the country for a fixed term after serving their sentences. The Metropolitan Chief Public Prosecution Office has also proposed the confiscation of goods seized during the investigation.
The cooperation between the Hungarian Prosecution Service and OLAF is presented in the press releases of the Office of the Prosecutor General, available here:
The performance of the Prosecution Service of Hungary continues to be outstanding - the prosecution rate following OLAF's judicial recommendations is significantly above the EU average - The Prosecution Service of Hungary (ugyeszseg.hu)