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Customs Department probes possible billion dollar tax cheat

Published:Tuesday | June 18, 2013 | 8:03 AM

The Customs Department has launched a probe into allegations that a major importer in Western Jamaica breached the Customs Act after failing to pay just under $1 billion in duties on meat and other agricultural produce.



The unpaid duties should incur fines in the region of $3 billion, bringing the total figure due to almost $4 billion.



Late last week, Commissioner of Customs Major Richard Reese said while his officers had started investigations into the allegations, he was yet to formally receive the file on the case.



It is understood that the importer, whose name is being withheld, has breached its Authorised Economic Operators status, which allows businesses to import goods without them being examined by Customs.



AEO status allows for the international movement of goods in whatever function that has been approved by a national customs administration as complying with supply chain security standards.



Among those to which the status is afforded are manufacturers, importers, exporters, brokers, carriers, airports and terminal operators.



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