Italian police disrupt massive Italo-Chinese fraud scheme

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - ROME, Jan 25 — Italian police said today they had dismantled a tax fraud network worth €1.7 billion (RM8.7 billion) involving Italian and Chinese suspects using over 100 shell companies in the country’s north.

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Financial police said 85 people were suspected of involvement in the scam involving false invoices from 140 fictitious companies over a period of two years, 2022 and 2023.

Property worth about €370 million — including cash, bank accounts, luxury cars and real estate property — was seized in the operation centred around the northern region of Lombardy.

The fraud revolved around a complex system of transfers to accounts based in China, Italy and other European Union countries, corresponding to payment for sales of products that never actually existed.

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“Data processing centres” found in the investigation helped the alleged suspects evade taxes and launder money through the transfers, police said.

These sums were then secretly returned in cash to the alleged suspects by couriers.

The system was “capable of transferring and laundering billions of dollars and using untracked cash” to pay back the senders, police said. — AFP

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