The suspects were detained following an investigation carried out in liaison with the Tax Authority and which involved “at least 14 national commercial companies, and their managers” who, between 2016 and 2021, “set up a fraudulent scheme related to the sale of vehicles”, vehicles that aimed to circumvent European and national legislation in order not to deliver, to the respective States, the VAT that should be collected from these transactions ”, informed the PJ in a statement.

The fraudulent scheme, which amounts to €20 million, consisted, according to the PJ, of the “introduction of thousands of vehicles from other member states for consumption in a member state”, with Portugal “only passing the documentary circuit of such deals through the use of shell companies in whose accounts the amounts involved in the deals circulated”.

Within the scope of the investigation, 12 defendants, individual and collective, were also constituted, and several searches were carried out, at home and outside the home, in the areas of Leiria and Caldas da Rainha.

The two detainees, of Portuguese nationality, worked as manager and accountant in several of the companies involved, it is also mentioned in the note.