Wednesday, March 24, 2010

AP: Romanian authorities arrest cigarettes smugglers

Officials say they have arrested 16 Romanians who smuggled cigarettes from Ukraine to Romania.

Organized crime prosecutors said Monday more than 35,000 cigarette packets worth about euro60,000 ($81,000) had been confiscated. Authorities say the cigarettes were manufactured in Ukraine.

Cigarette smuggling has sharply increased since the government levied extra taxes on tobacco last year and prices shot up. Tobacco companies claim one in three cigarettes are counterfeit or smuggled.

Romanian authorities are working with Ukrainian counterparts to identify the Ukrainians involved in the smuggling.

Romania, which joined the EU in 2007, has among the cheapest cigarette prices in the 27-nation bloc -- roughly euro2.50 ($3.35) per packet.

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