Illicit Trading in Cigarettes Rises in Bulgaria
The market share of illicit trading in cigarettes in Bulgaria increased last year to 20%, translating into about half a billion levs (EUR 250 M) in lost government revenue from taxes and excise duty, according to a new study.
The study conducted by the Center for the Study of Democracy, a Sofia-based NGO, has shown that 2.8 billion cigarettes were illegally sold in Bulgaria last year, bTV station reported on Friday.
The city of Sliven, in southeastern Bulgaria, led the ranking in terms of illicit sales of cigarettes, followed by Svilengrad, on the border with Turkey; Sandanski, close to the border with Greece, and Pazardzhik, in southern Bulgaria.
According to the study, 15,000 Bulgarian nationals were involved in illicit trading in cigarettes, serving some 400,000 smokers.
Illicitly sold cigarettes were mostly produced in Bulgaria but illegal imports were on the rise with smuggling of raw tobacco posting the sharpest increase last year.
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