Nine people were arrested in ‘Red Dragon’ operation

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Prosecutors of the Department for the Investigation of Organised Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) have retained nine persons belonging to a group dealing with smuggling of products in the area of the ‘ Red Dragon’ complex, in the eastern area of the Romanian capital.

Prosecutors on Thursday asked the court to place under preventive arrest nine people and to issue warrant for another one missing, for committing such crimes as tax evasion, smuggling and money laundering.

On Wednesday, the DIICOT prosecutors and 400 policemen from the organised crime department and gendarmes have searched 37 homes, 5 of which in the ‘ Red Dragon’ commercial complex, 4 in the Prahova County, 9 in Constanta and 19 in Bucharest, confiscating 785,000 dollars, 550,000 euros, 595,000 lei and seven gold bars.

Prosecutors also discovered the group was headed by Hua Le Duc, aged 51, who had dual citizenship, Romanian and Vietnamese. The group was composed of 18 Romanian, Moldovan and Chinese citizens and it was dealing with illegal imports from China, bringing counterfeit products in Romania. Also, the group transferred the illicit money to China, defrauding thus the Romanian state budget.

The group imported goods through ghost companies, founded for this purpose by Asian citizens who later left Romania. The import documents were then forged (the value of goods being diminished) and used to move the goods through the customs, while avoiding paying customs duties. The illegal money were converted into hard currency (usually U.S. dollars), and transferred via Ukraine to exporting companies from China.

Using this method, there were between 500,000 and 1,000,000 US dollars taken out of Romania, on a weekly basis. On Wednesday, one of the group members, a Moldovan citizen, was detected at the Giurgiulesti border checkpoint, (the border with Republic of Moldova), having 120,000 dollars, money he did not declare to the customs authorities and which he intended to take out of the country.

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