134 filling stations close in fuel-laundering probe
Published 23/04/2015 | 02:30
Some 134 filling stations have been closed down in the past four years as part of a clampdown by the taxman on fuel laundering.
The Revenue Commissioners also said three million litres of illegal fuel had been seized and 31 oil laundries had been detected and closed down since mid-2011.
Speaking at the publication of its annual report for 2014, Revenue chairman Niall Cody said it was impossible to hazard a guess as to how much illegally laundered fuel was entering circulation.
However, he said he was confident that new measures would make it increasingly difficult for fuel launderers to operate.
This included the use of a new marker for rebated fuel, in partnership with the UK's Revenue and Customs.
The Revenue has also increasingly focused on the supply chain, identifying where in the importation process fuel is being syphoned off for laundering.
"We have worked very closely with the legitimate trade, from the importers to the distributor chain," said Mr Cody.
The Revenue boss said he could not say the illegal fuel problem was solvable, but insisted: "We can make in-roads."
The new marker, for example, will make it more difficult for criminals to operate mobile laundries.
"The harder it is to launder, the more expensive it is to launder, hopefully the criminal gangs who are engaged in this will turn their attention elsewhere or preferably stop," he said.
Mr Cody said gangs involved in fuel laundering were also responsible for much of the country's tobacco smuggling.
A new tax stamp for cigarettes, with enhanced security features, is being introduced this month.
Revenue seized 53.4 million cigarettes last year with a value of €25.5m, as well as 9,824kgs of tobacco worth €4.2m.