26 Jun 2023 15:04

Polish tax service conducts searches in 222 companies over Ukrainian grain import

MOSCOW. June 26 (Interfax) - The National Revenue Administration of Poland, acting on orders from the Rzeszow Prosecutor's Office, carried out searches in 222 companies and customs offices as part of an investigation opened into the import of Ukrainian grain to the country in violation of the existing ban, Ukrainian media said, citing the RMF24 media outlet.

The Regional Prosecutor's Office in Rzeszow is handling the inquiry into the import of Ukrainian grain to Poland. In April 2023, it took over dozens of previous proceedings for further investigation and tasked the National Revenue Administration with conducting searches.

"A total of 222 searches were carried out in the headquarters of grain importers and customs offices across the country," spokesperson for the Rzeszow Regional Prosecutor's Office Hanna Biernat-Lozanska said on Friday.

Financial and accounting documentation, border control data, business correspondence, data storage devices, and more than 1,000 tonnes of grain, which apparently was not in compliance with the information stated in the customs declaration, were seized during the searches, she said.

More than 800 personnel took part in the operation, spokesperson for the director of the National Revenue Administration Justyna Paseczinska said.

No other details of the searches have been provided.

The Rzeszow Prosecutor's Office added the inquiries earlier conducted by other Prosecutor Offices across the country and reports compiled by customs and tax authorities to the ongoing investigation. Investigators are probing all instances of abuse related to the quality of Ukrainian grain that was imported as technical and industrial and could be used for the production of foodstuffs and animal feed.

The importers declared the use of grain for technical needs and expected to avoid checks by phytosanitary inspectorates.

The European Commission on May 2 adopted exceptional and temporary preventive measures, banning the import of wheat, maize, rapeseed and sunflower seed from Ukraine, to resolve logistical problems related to these products in Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia.

On June 5, the European Commission extended the ban until September 15. However, the coalition of the five EU countries that border Ukraine believes that the ban should be prolonged until the end of the year.