The busted cigarette smugglers in Debrecen hid behind questionable diplomatic immunity


The perpetrators, who were recently caught in the act by the financial inspectors of the National Tax and Customs Administration (NAV) in a property in Debrecen, transported the untaxed cigarettes in a minibus with diplomatic markings, Lt. Col. Simon Béla, NAV’s press officer told MTI on Monday.

Based on criminal information, a property in Debrecen was checked by the financial investigators together with the financial inspectors. A resident of the county of Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg and a person with dual Ukrainian-Hungarian citizenship were caught at the gate while packing a large number of untaxed cigarettes – the announcement states, which also details that as soon as they noticed the people from the authority, the suspects tried to escape, but both men were caught.

One of them hid in the attic of the house of a police officer who lived nearby but was caught.

139,500 packs of cigarettes, worth HUF 300 million, were found in minibuses with Hungarian and Czech license plates parked in the yard, as well as in the garage belonging to the house, which were immediately seized by the financial officers. The use of the diplomatic official mark is the subject of further investigation – the lieutenant colonel indicated.

According to the announcement, the suspects caused almost a quarter of a billion forints in property damage to the Hungarian budget, so they are being investigated for budget fraud that caused a particularly large property loss. The arrest of the perpetrators was ordered by the Nyíregyháza Magistrate’s Court, and in the event of a conviction, the two men can expect up to 8 years in prison.

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