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Criminal network suspected of tax fraud in workforce rental in Norway and Lithuania dismantled   

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The Hague, 26 January 2023

With the support of Eurojust, judicial and law enforcement authorities in Norway and Lithuania have taken action against a staffing network suspected of extensive tax fraud in workforce rental for fish farms in Norway. During a joint action day, five suspects were detained and nine locations were searched. Eurojust supported the judicial cooperation and assisted the authorities in setting up and funding a joint investigation team (JIT) into the case.

After a wide investigation carried out in the fishing industry in northern Norway in 2019, the Norwegian authorities responsible for combating work-related crime identified ten Lithuanian companies and one Norwegian company that they believe are part of the criminal network. The estimated damage caused by the tax fraud amounts to approximately NOK 8 million (EUR 800 000).

The case was opened at Eurojust at the request of the Norwegian authorities in July 2021. In addition to supporting the establishment of the JIT and providing it with funding, Eurojust actively facilitated the cross-border judicial cooperation between the national authorities involved. The Agency organised four coordination meetings and facilitated the execution of several requests for mutual legal assistance.

In a coordinated action carried out in Lithuania and Norway on 13 December 2022, five suspects were arrested. They are charged with extensive tax fraud or complicity in this crime. Nine locations were searched and fifteen people involved were interrogated.

The following authorities took part in the investigation:

Norway: Norwegian National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime (Økokrim); Nordland police district; Finnmark police district

Lithuania: Vilnius Regional Public Prosecutor’s Office; Lithuanian Financial Crime Investigation Service (FCIS/FNTT)

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