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香烟

大烟草公司面临着欧盟的大假冒问题

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今年早些时候,西班牙警方突袭了三个秘密烟草工厂,缴获了价值近 40 万欧元的烟叶和非法香烟。

At one, in the northern town of Alfaro, they found 10 Ukrainian workers, five of them war refugees, who’d been put to work with no contracts and scant pay, police said. They worked all day and lived at the factory and are forbidden from leaving.

区域警务和反欺诈机构表示,该行动是整个欧盟的数十项行动之一,已将非法卷烟的缉获量推至创纪录水平。

根据路透社对该领域六位专家(包括执法官员)的采访,传统上主要从欧盟以外采购假冒烟草产品的犯罪集团越来越多地在西欧建立生产设施,以更接近价格较高的市场、烟草高管和行业分析师。

欧洲反欺诈办公室 (OLAF) 表示,由于 COVID-19 大流行导致旅行中断,这一趋势进一步加剧,这阻碍了来自欧盟以外的供应。 OLAF 补充说,乌克兰的战争可能进一步加速了这种情况,乌克兰多年来一直是非法烟草的生产中心和中转路线。

As well as the human cost, counterfeiting is a financial thorn in the side of the world’s biggest tobacco companies at a time when they’re facing a global decline in smoking that’s spurred large investments in alternative products like vapes.

“Criminal gangs have switched from importing counterfeit products into Europe to establishing illicit manufacturing facilities within EU borders,” said Cyrille Olive, British American Tobacco’s (BAT) (蝙蝠侠) 反非法贸易区域负责人。

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BAT – one of tobacco’s global giants with Imperial Brands (IMB.L), 日本烟草 (2914.T) and Philip Morris International – has seen increased counterfeiting since last year in France, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Denmark and the Czech Republic, Olive added.

Some campaigners have accused Big Tobacco of overstating the size of the illicit market to help lobby against higher taxes – something the companies deny. Nonetheless, the latest data shows seizures of illicit cigarettes are increasing.

根据 OLAF 的数据,去年欧盟扣押了创纪录的 531 亿支非法香烟,比 43 年缉获的约 370 亿支增长了 2020%。 大约 60% 的香烟来自该集团的非法生产,而其余的则是走私的。

Europol told Reuters that last year would also likely set a record for the number of illegal cigarette factories that were reported shut down by national police forces, although the full-year data isn’t yet available.

烟草调查员

日本烟草、英美烟草和帝国烟草公司的高管告诉路透社,该行业的回应是聘请调查人员研究非法经营并与欧洲当局分享情报。

The three tobacco majors declined to put a figure on the financial hit from the illicit trade. Japan Tobacco has, though, spent “hundreds of millions of dollars” gathering information on the counterfeiters which it then passes on to European authorities like OLAF, according to Vincent Byrne, head of the company’s anti-illicit trade operations.

“We have a dedicated function within the company to try and protect our assets, protect our brands, and combat illegal trade,” said Byrne, a former detective who investigated organised crime in Ireland.

BAT 和 Imperial Brands 表示他们也有情报业务。

菲利普莫里斯国际拒绝就本文置评。

包装:不到 XNUMX 欧元

Counterfeiters typically replicate popular cigarette brands, which include Japan Tobacco’s Winston, Philip Morris’ Marlboro, British America’s Dunhill and Imperial Brands’ Nobel.

Byrne 说,一包 20 支香烟的制造成本不到 XNUMX 欧元,但交易价格是这个数字的好几倍,具体取决于市场。

Supplies from China and other parts of Asia – which used to be the biggest sources of counterfeit cigarettes that ended up in the EU – shrank during COVID-19 lockdowns, spurring increasing production in Europe itself, according to Alex McDonald, head of group security at Imperial Brands.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine may have quickened that trend, said Ernesto Bianchi, OLAF’s director of revenue and international operations, investigations and strategy, adding that the agency was “analysing how the fraudsters may have reconfigured their routes”.

Ukraine had been a hub for the manufacturing of illicit tobacco and a supply route for illicit and counterfeit cigarettes made in Russia and Belarus, activities that may have been disrupted by the war, Imperial Brands’ McDonald said.

一些造假者正在引诱和胁迫乌克兰难民成为工人。

西班牙警方周四表示,上个月在距巴塞罗那 80 公里的 Roda de Ter 捣毁了一家非法烟草厂。 官员查获了 11,400 公斤烟草和 7,360 包香烟。 六名乌克兰人被发现在那里工作。

In Italy, officials said in April last year they had found about 82 tonnes of counterfeit cigarettes inside a factory in the industrial area of the country’s ​​Pomezia municipality.

调查人员说,他们发现俄罗斯、摩尔多瓦和乌克兰的工人在一个不安全的环境中进行艰苦的轮班,那里的窗户被围起来阻止了烟雾的逸出。

“A good many workers from Ukraine have been found in these illegal factories,” Japan Tobacco’s Byrne said about counterfeiting operations across the EU.

“They’re collected in a van at an airport, blacked out windows, driven around and swapped into another van,” Byrne, said recounting a particular incident.

“Eventually they’re delivered to the factory. Mobile phones are taken from them. Essentially, it’s a form of modern-day slavery.”

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EU Reporter 发表来自各种外部来源的文章,表达了广泛的观点。 这些文章中的立场不一定是欧盟记者的立场。
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