Eight suspects of illicit vehicle trafficking have been arrested after the Hungarian and Slovakian authorities joined forces with Europol. The criminal group was under investigation for embezzling three luxury cars in 2017. The cars were originally registered in Slovakia, then reregistered in Hungary with fake vehicle registration certificates and subsequently sold to private, often unsuspecting, individuals.
Four members of the organised crime group were apprehended on 20 June 2018 during an operation by the Major Case Detection Department of the RRSPS in Hungary, the Pest County Police Headquarters and the Bács-Kiskun County Police Headquarters. Four more suspects were apprehended in Slovakia by the Slovak National Crime Agency, NAKA. Europol experts provided on-the-spot analytical support. House searches took place at different locations in Hungary and data carriers, mobile phones and documents were seized by detectives, as were the three illegally sold vehicles.
Several EU Member States have ongoing investigations into this particular modus operandi: criminals hire/lease a luxury vehicle in one country; it is then moved to another country where it is again registered, often with counterfeit ownership documents. A report on the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is drafted but only once the criminals stop paying the hire/lease. By this time, however, the embezzlers have already changed the number plates and can sell the car to a new innocent buyer.
In 2010 the European Union set up a four-year Policy Cycle to ensure greater continuity in the fight against serious international and organised crime. In 2017 the Council of the EU decided to continue the EU Policy Cycle for the 2018 - 2021 period. It aims to tackle the most significant threats posed by organised and serious international crime to the EU. This is achieved by improving and strengthening cooperation between the relevant services of EU Member States, institutions and agencies, as well as non-EU countries and organisations, including the private sector where relevant. Organised property crime is one of the priorities for the Policy Cycle.