Greece arrests member of gang that raked in $21 billion from fuel-product smuggling

By Thomson Reuters Mar 30, 2024 | 8:52 AM

ATHENS (Reuters) – Greek authorities have arrested a senior member of an international gang that smuggled Latin American fuel products for illegal sale around the world, raking in an estimated profit of more than $21 billion, police said on Saturday.

The gang member, an Italian national for whom Interpol had issued an arrest warrant, was found in a southern Athens suburb on Friday, a police official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

The warrant had ordered the man’s arrest and his extradition to Venezuela to be tried for crimes including the illegal transport and trade of resources of strategic importance, the official said.

The gang stole the fuel products that were loaded onto its oil tankers from ports in Latin America, and switched off tracking transponders to deceive shipping brokers, police said in a statement.

The criminal organisation made a profit of more than $21 billion from the smuggling, harming both brokers and their countries, police said.

(Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou and Yannis Souliotis; Editing by Bernadette Baum)