Illegal trade in fuel on the rise in Poland
Companies trading in illegal fuel are becoming increasingly audacious, up to the point of renting entire working petrol stations, the Polish media reported in May.
“Fraudsters have started controlling working petrol stations,” the Polish Petroleum Organization CEO, Leszek Wieciech, told Polish daily, Dziennik Gazeta Prawna, May 5. “They are now assuming the roles of legal businesses.”
Organized criminal units have systematically increased the scale of their operations. This has been possible mainly because a number of petrol station owners have not introduced the necessary renovations required at the end of 2012. Owners who have decided against the renovations are using an extended deadline issued by the Ministry of Economy to earn extra income through rent, before concluding operations.
In theory, owners should notify the Technical Supervision Authority (UDT) when they decide to rent out petrol stations. According to the UDT, around 30 percent of stations still require makeovers, giving organized crime units more than 2,000 target locations.
The competition is overwhelming for firms selling fuel legally. Profits on an illegitimate litre of fuel are PLN 1-2 larger, since it is not subjected to costs such as VAT or excise tax. Branch experts estimate that the treasury lost PLN 3.5 billion from illegal sales in 2012.