Bulgarian Govt Targets Gray Economy in Excise Goods, Gambling

Politics » DOMESTIC | February 19, 2010, Friday // 12:29
Bulgaria: Bulgarian Govt Targets Gray Economy in Excise Goods, Gambling Bulgaria's Finance Minister Djankov (right), pictured with PM Borisov, has launched a campaign to target the gray economy. Photo by BGNES

The Bulgarian government has started a special operation codenamed “Owls” in order to inspect potentially illegal production and trade of cigarettes and alcohol, as well as gambling activities.

Operation Owls was announced by Finance Minister Simeon Djankov, who recently inspected a detained shipment of contraband cigarettes at the Port of Varna.

On Friday, Djankov announced that the contraband cigarettes in question had been produced at the Blagoevgrad factory of the Bulgarian state-owned monopoly Bulgartabac. He is going to meet with the Bulgartabac management on Monday over this issue.

Djankov has even mentioned the possibility of some cigarette brands being temporarily removed from the Bulgarian market as the inspections last.

“It turns out that our producers not only lack interest in reducing the gray economy, it turns out that some of them ARE the gray economy,” Djankov stated with respect to the Blagoevgrad cigarette factory.

He made it clear that 40 casinos have been targeted in surprise raids which led to discovering a number of violations including lending people money on the spot so that they can gamble. Some of the casinos will be shut down.

In his words, no inspections have been carried out in casinos in Bulgaria in the last three years.

Djankov has pointed out that the work of the Customs Agency is improving.

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Tags: gray economy, excise, cigarettes, cigarette contraband, contraband, smuggling, Bulgartabac, Owls, special operation
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