Customs officials 'helped' supercar importers dodge duty

The Customs Department auctions off a seized Lamborghini. (File photo: Somchai Poomlard)
The Customs Department auctions off a seized Lamborghini. (File photo: Somchai Poomlard)

Graft-busters accuse seven customs officials of helping supercar importers evade duty totalling 897 million baht by accepting unrealistically low car valuations.

Niwatchai Kasemmongkol of the National Anti-Corruption Commission said on Tuesday that the panel found irregularities in the importing of 29 Lamborghini cars by Jubilee Line Co and Benznakarin Auto Group and 33 Maserati cars by Ferma Motor Co, between 2011 and 2014.

Mr Niwatchai said the NACC held eight customs officials responsible for acknowledging unrealistically low valuations for the cars. One of them had since died.

From Jan 17, 2011 to Oct 28, 2014, they allegedly cleared the importation of the 62 cars despite knowing the declared values were too low. They had caused damage through loss of revenue totalling 897 million baht to the Customs, Revenue and Excise departments.

The NACC will begin legal action and seek disciplinary action against the superiors of the accused customs officials.

The 62 cars were among 122 Lamborghini and Maserati cars imported by the three companies. The NACC was examining the details of the other 60 cars, Mr Niwatchai said.

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  • corruption (n): dishonest or illegal behaviour, especially of people in authority -
  • customs (noun): the checking and collecting of taxes on goods leaving or entering the country, carried out by the customs department - งานที่เกี่ยวข้องกับภาษีศุลกากร
  • declare: to tell customs officers (= at the border of a country) the kind of goods you are carrying - แจ้ง, เปิดเผย
  • disciplinary action: punishment of people who do not obey the rules - การลงโทษเนื่องจากการฝ่าฝืนวินัย หรือระเบียบ
  • dodge: to avoid something unpleasant - หลบหลีก
  • duty: a tax -
  • import: to buy or bring in products from another country - นำเข้า
  • importation: the act of importing goods from another country into a country -
  • irregularity: a situation in which the rules, laws, or usual ways of doing things have not been followed - การปฏิบัติที่ไม่เป็นไปตามระเบียบปกติ
  • revenue: income from taxes or business activities - รายได้
  • unrealistically: based on hopes or wishes, and not on what is likely or possible - ดูไม่สมจริง, ไม่เป็นความจริง
  • valuation (noun): a professional judgement about how much money something is worth; its estimated value - การประเมินค่า

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