The European Anti-Fraud Office (Olaf) has announced that the UK should pay a €1.98 billion fine for its negligence in allowing criminal gangs to flood Europe with a large volume of illegal Chinese goods.
British customs officials are blamed for not cracking down hard enough on fake invoices and false claims about the value of goods. Olaf estimates that France, Germany, Spain and Italy have lost approximately €3.2 billion between them in VAT revenues because of British failures.
Anti-fraud investigators say they have repeatedly warned British customs about the extent of fraud, finding the UK unresponsive to requests to trace goods and unwilling to make the effort to tighten fraud checks.
80% of customs duties are used to fund the EU budget. The fine levied on the UK would be paid into this budget as compensation.
However, Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesperson responded: “We’ve not received a bill from the European Commission. This report is not a bill. It’s an estimate. We don’t recognise the figures.”
(Source: The Guardian)