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News

28 May 2021, 09:59

The Committee on Finance, Taxation and Customs Policy discussed the feasibility of criminalizing of smuggling

( Information Department of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Secretariat )


The Committee on Finance, Taxation and Customs Policy held a round table conference on "Criminalization of Commodity Smuggling" with the participation of MPs, representatives of central authorities, business associations, relevant associations and scientists.
Opening the meeting, First Deputy Chairman of the Committee on Finance, Taxation and Customs Policy Yaroslav Zheleznyak said that the Committee on Law Enforcement had already considered the draft Law No. 5420 "On Amendments to the Criminal Code of Ukraine and the Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine on criminalization of smuggling of goods and of excisable goods, as well as inaccurate declaration of goods" and decided to recommend to the Verkhovna Rada to adopt it as a basis based on the results of the consideration in the first reading. At the same time, according to him, there are a number of remarks to this bill, both by business representatives and MPs, so they decided to hold a round table to discuss the bill.
Among the remarks made by business associations and experts, he also named:
- prosecution depending on the amount of damage to the budget, not on the value of goods;
- the need to raise the limit of criminal prosecution for smuggling both excisable and non-excisable goods;
- establishment of criminal liability for acts committed by prior conspiracy by an official of the customs authority, which may lead to bureaucratization of the customs service;
- criminalization of smuggling of only excisable goods is supported, while the question of inclusion in this list of vehicles remains;
- the size of sanctions for criminalized acts;
- the need to add intent to the mandatory feature of the offense.
In his speech, the head of the State Fiscal Service Vadym Melnyk called the bill important and expedient, as it will allow customs authorities to document crimes, as well as to join operational and investigative measures and urgent investigative actions. In addition, in his opinion, the introduction of criminal liability for smuggling can serve as a deterrent for those who want to commit such a crime. Vadym Melnyk noted that the bill is beneficial for law enforcement agencies, as the phenomenon of smuggling has become significant, and the project provides for the qualification of crimes as serious and especially serious.
The meeting was also addressed by business representatives, who supported the criminalization of smuggling of only excisable goods and raising the threshold for such liability.
The provision on establishing criminal liability for acts committed by a conspiracy officer of a customs authority raised the most questions. According to business associations, this rule will encourage customs services to look for errors in declarations to avoid accusations of facilitating smuggling.
The participants of the meeting noted that the damage caused to business will significantly exceed the positive effect of the implementation of the bill. Therefore, it needs significant refinement.
Speakers also supported the need to use economic leverage to reduce the smuggling of goods, in particular, to eliminate the demand for unregistered goods.

In addition, it was about the expediency of applying European approaches to the proportionality of punishment and crime.