Sunday 1 February 2015

20pc admit buying smuggled tobacco

Published 28/03/2014 | 02:30

MORE than one in five people have knowingly bought smuggled cigarettes, a new report claims.

Dodgy traders selling cut-price tobacco, alcohol and fuel on the black market are making hundreds of millions of euro for the criminal underworld, the study by accountancy firm Grant Thornton said.

And it's costing the economy about €1.5bn per year, including the loss of government revenue as tax is not being collected.

It's estimated that the trade in smuggled cigarettes and fuel is worth about €337m, while the amount of money being laundered by criminal gangs is put at about €3bn.

Grant Thornton's Brendan Foster said more needs to be done to crack down on smuggling.

"Our research estimates that illicit trade in fuel and tobacco alone is as much as €337m, with much of this going into criminals' pockets," he said.

"Money laundering allows these illegal proceeds to penetrate the legitimate financial system."

Key findings from the report, which surveyed 1,000 consumers and 200 retailers, include:

* One in three consumers have knowingly acquired a pirated CD or video game.

* Some 23pc have knowingly bought illicit cigarettes, 16pc alcohol, and 6pc fuel.

* Some 72pc of retailers think the government response to the threat of illicit trade has been too little.

Irish Independent

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