Author`s name Ольга Савка

Police confiscate 300 tons of cellular phones in Russia

Russia's market of cellular phones depends heavily on “grey” consignments presently

An unprecedented set-off of smuggled cellular phones took place in Moscow several days ago. The police seized about 300 tons of cellular phones and components worth more than $10 million.

Committee of Inquiry under the Interior Ministry in cooperation with Directorate “K” of the Interior Ministry put an end to the illegal supply of radio-electronic and computer components to the Russian Federation. “The police seized 10 trailers containing goods that were illegally imported to Russia for further sale in the regions, about 300 tons of radio-electronic devices worth more than $10 million were taken into custody,” Interfax reports citing a joint statement released by the Committee of Inquiry and the Directorate “K” of the Interior Ministry.

The police launched an investigation into the illegal imports back in January after getting a tip on large consignments of illegal goods delivered from Germany and Finland to Moscow's  Sheremetyevo Airport. The goods were cleared according to “grey” customs clearance schemes. An official customs duty to be imposed on cellular phones in Russia amounts to 20% aside from a 18% VAT.

The “grey” import pattern looks quite simple. A large retailer agrees with a manufacturer on terms of delivery. Then a retailer cuts a deal with an importer regarding the delivery of goods from a manufacturer's storage facilities to Russia. The goods are supposed to be cleared by customs at the place of sale. As a result, neither a manufacturer nor a realtor is responsible for receiving customs clearance. An importer takes full responsibility for it, and an importer proves to be a one-day front that is set up in line with the “grey” delivery pattern requirements.

Severen, Ultra Star, and Sota-Online companies fronted for the smugglers, according to the Directorate “K” and Committee of Inquiry. The illegal products retailed by a number of companies including Euroset, Dixis, Svyaznoi, Beta Link, Divizion, and Telefon.ru, according to an article published by Kommersant.

The prosecution started legal proceedings pursuant to Article 188 of the Russian Criminal Code (contraband). No one has been officially charged with any crime yet. However, the operatives say that Yakov Ardashnikov, director of World Air Transport (WAT), is suspected of planning illegal imports.

Russia's market of cellular phones depends heavily on “grey” consignments these days. Speaking to Vedomosti, Chairman of the Consumer Protection Confederation Dmitry Yanin estimated that up to 90% of all cellular phones are imported to Russia via the “grey” routes. Cellular phone prices may increase by 15% due to the current situation, Kommersant reports.

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