Polish customs help bust illegal cigarette factory in Belgium

Illustrative photo. Tytus Żmijewski/PAP

Poland’s National Revenue Administration (KAS) and Belgium’s customs authorities have closed an illegal cigarette plant in the Brussels municipality of Molenbeek-Saint-Jean.

"The losses to the Belgian budget have been estimated at even EUR 2.2 million," Anita Wielanek, a KAS spokeswoman said on Monday, adding that complete cigarette production line had been found in a deserted warehouse, and that over 170,000 cigarettes and 11.5 tonnes of tobacco had been seized.

The operation was carried out by Belgian customs in cooperation with agents from the Customs and Fiscal Office of the Mazowieckie province in Warsaw, and was also part of the European Multidisciplinary Platform Against Criminal Threats (EMPACT).

EMPACT, a programme affiliating EU members and third countries, conducts operations aimed at identifying and addressing threats posed by organised international crime.