ECONOMY

Monitoring oil trading

The Finance Ministry is preparing an accounting plan designed to fight the extensive illegal trading in petroleum products considered responsible for tax evasion amounting to about 3 billion euros annually. Sources said that according to the plan, the ministry’s Customs Department will monitor the quantities of oil imported by each refinery and the quantities of refined fuels distributed. The refineries will have to furnish monthly the documents related to the imported raw material and the distribution to fuel marketing companies. The financial crimes squad (SDOE) also began yesterday its fight against illegal fuel trading circuits, conducting the first checks at Votanikos, Aspropyrgos and Skaramangas in the capital. SDOE possesses a list of 80 suspected illegal oil storage units and is focusing on the Votanikos area, particularly on Orpheos Road, where most of those storage units are based, hidden behind car-repair shops. Some 10 days ago, SDOE used information to locate spots of «laundering» of considerable quantities of illegal oil, but without being able to trace the origin of the fuel. Sources had directed SDOE’s central agency to a fuel company that was proven to have trafficked illegal fuel oil of 6.5 tons with fake papers. Further checks on illegal oil tanks at Mandra, western Attica, netted some 30 tons of illegal fuel oil. Illegal fuel trading also continues in bunker fuels, too, despite the recent measures of earmarking and coloring with black dye the fuel destined for refueling passenger, cargo and other ships. Irregularities usually include fake refueling for the same boat as well as the refueling of non-existing boats, taking advantage of the lack of direct control by customs and port authorities during loading and unloading of small tankers, allowing suppliers to redistribute the fuels illegally.