Aleksandr Lukashenka and Alexei Oleksin may be responsible for the smuggling of Belarusian cigarettes to Europe
The Lithuanian association of journalists Siena has published an article about the smuggling of cigarettes from Belarus under the eloquent headline "KontraBat'ka". The main conclusion of the investigation: Aleksandr Lukashenka and businessman Alexei Oleksin, who is called one of his "wallets", may be directly connected with smuggling. Here are some theses from the article.
— According to experts, in 2019 the European Union lost 9.5 billion euros in taxes due to smuggled cigarettes, and Belarus is their main supplier to Europe.
— According to the official data, in 2015−2020, all EU countries legally imported cigarettes from Belarus for only 85 thousand euros. At the same time, the cost of only one intercepted smuggling consignment from Belarus to Lithuania is often several times higher than this amount. In general, Belarus produces several times more cigarettes than it consumes.
— The smuggling of Belarusian cigarettes has never been on such a large scale before. Its volumes have been growing rapidly since 2018, when the Belarusian dictator announced a reform of the tobacco industry and provided Oleksin with preferences in this market.
— The main transport for smuggling remains trucks, in which it has become the norm to find 1000−1500 blocks of cigarettes, which was an exception before. But trains are gaining more and more weight, including those carrying fertilizers of "Belaruskaliy" and "Grodno Azot". Smuggled wagons are sealed either at these factories or at intermediate stations.
— In 2020 Lithuanians identified 55 cases of cigarette smuggling on trains. The total number of packs detected: 18.4 million, of which 17.2 million are from Belarus, mainly produced at factories owned by Oleksin.
— It happens that smuggled cigarettes transported from Belarus to Lithuania are destined for third countries. In such cases, Lithuania is used for transit.
— The activities of a number of "gasket" firms in Lithuania and the UAE, to which Oleksin’s son and longtime Lithuanian partner are related, indicates the involvement of the dictator’s "wallet" in smuggling.
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