Illegal tobacco trade has cost state 565 mln

By Anestis Dokas

The state missed out on taxes of about 565 million euros last year due to the illegal tobacco trade in Greece, which showed a 4.4 percent rise year-on-year, reaching 17.8 percent of all tobacco trading, according to a survey by KPMG conducted across the European Union for four major tobacco multinationals.

The vast majority (seven out of 10) of illegal cigarettes in Greece are the so-called “illicit white” brands, produced outside the European Union and which resemble well-known brands. Their numbers in Greece grew by 63 percent in 2013 from 2012.

Greek police seized the second-highest quantity of illicit whites in the EU last year, amounting to 2.8 billion cigarettes.

Across the EU one in every 10 cigarettes consumed last year was illegal. One third of them (33 percent) were illicit whites, which are the emerging leading form of illegal tobacco, the KPMG study found.