Balkan ‘exports’ that never cross the border

By setting up bogus firms, mostly in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro or Albania, smugglers import petroleum products that are in principle destined for neighboring countries, according to a report by experts for the Economy and Finance Ministry. The fuel is supposedly exported to Balkan states using falsified export documents and the products are sold on the domestic market (by switching fuel for water, for example) or by adulterating the product. «There can be no smuggling without the participation of state officials,» admit customs officers themselves. Border customs services issue «export certificates» for fuel that never crosses the border. «The sale of fuel destined for export is not taxed. Smugglers produce documents declaring fuel exports to FYROM. By greasing customs officers’ palms, they get the necessary export documents and then a certification of delivery from a phantom company abroad,» a well-informed source told Kathimerini.