In 2016, SRS customs activities resulted in the seizure of over 54 thousand litres of illegal alcohol, which is twice as much as in 2015. Preventing the entry of this illegal alcohol to the market allowed avoiding losses of EUR 361,000 to the State budget.
Despite that the smuggling of alcoholic beverages is not considered a high-level threat, it is to be taken into account that the illegal production and selling of fortified beverages is a serious business of criminal groups, which, just as smuggling of tobacco, promotes the development of other types of crime, causes harm to the State budget, legal producers and consumers of alcoholic beverages. Calculations made suggest that the current total illegal share of alcoholic beverages in Latvia, most likely, does not exceed 10% of the total consumption of alcoholic beverages in the country.
Kaspars Podiņš, Director of the SRS Customs Police Department:
Undeniably, as a result of increase in excise duty rates, prices for legal alcohol grow every year. Respectively, it increases the wish of consumers to purchase cheaper alcohol, which is often of an illegal origin. Harm is caused to both the State budget and mainly the health of inhabitants, since illegal (hence, of illegal origin) alcohol can contain life-threatening substances. Combating the spread of illegal excise goods is one of priorities of the SRS activity; however, good results can be achieved only by successfully cooperating with other law enforcement authorities of the State. For these purposes, a special Working Group of Law Enforcement Authorities was created, the successful cooperation and coordinated actions of which are suggested by increase in the volumes of illegal alcohol seized over the recent years”.
The data of the State Police, which combats the illegal circulation of excise goods inland, suggest that almost 100,000 litres of alcoholic beverages were withdrawn from circulation last year and 99% of seized alcohol was of unknown origin.
The Provision State Agency destroys a significant amount of illegal alcohol almost every day; moreover, Ieva Rekšņa, Public Relations Specialist of the Provision State Agency, emphasises:
We can rather confidently state that the flow of smuggling to Latvia, unfortunately, does not decrease. In 2016, 18,397 packages of alcoholic beverages were destroyed within the framework of 21 administrative violation cases and 129 criminal proceedings”.
In order to effectively fight against the illegal circulation of excise goods, including illegal alcohol, in Latvia, in 2016, the Action Plan of Law Enforcement Authorities for 2016–2018 was developed; within the framework of this plan, cooperation of law enforcement authorities and regular assessment of results occurs.
SRS invites: if you see, report! Each sold litre of illegal alcohol promotes crime and increases the total amount of non-paid taxes. By supporting non-payment of taxes, including purchasing of smuggled goods, all inhabitants of Latvia lose in the long term, as they do not receive from the State the social guarantees of desired amount and quality, education, security, medicine, and other services important for each of us, which are mostly ensured by the State. Paid taxes form the State budget, i.e. our common wallet.
Smuggling, non-payment of taxes, salaries in envelopes, as well as illegal activities of SRS officials can be reported:
by calling at 80009070;
by e-mail to parkapumi [at] vid.gov.lv;
via the mobile application “Aizdomīgie darījumi” (“Suspicious Transactions”).
If you are against fraud, join the anti-fraud movement #Atkrāpies! (#FraudOff!) It unites state administration institutions of Latvia, which combat fraud in different areas and forms, as well as inhabitants of Latvia and organisations that strictly oppose any kind of fraud. More information and an opportunity to join the movement on www.atkrapies.lv.
#Atkrāpies! (#FraudOff!) is an anti-fraud movement that joined state administration institutions of Latvia, which combat fraud in different areas and forms, as well as inhabitants of Latvia and organisations that strictly oppose any kind of fraud. More information and an opportunity to join the movement on www.atkrapies.lv.
 Information available in Latvian and Russian