Information and experience exchange were the key issues discussed in Petrozavodsk at the coordination meeting of representatives of customs services of states participating in the Barents Euro-Arctic Region Council, where came together customs officials from Finland, Sweden and Northwest of Russia, engaged revealing and suppression of customs offences.
Participants of the meeting discussed the most actual problems of their job. For example, Finnish customs officers are alarmed by illicit import of cigarettes from Russia. Chief of the department for crime control of the East customs district of Finland Olli-Pekka Vanhainen has told of the fact of detention of another tobacco potion on Nujämaa (Brusnichnoye) check point: 6 thousand blocks of cigarettes were hidden in the container of the alleged empty truck… In turn, the problem of double accounts causes anxiety of Russian customs officers, when at import of goods the Russian party is shown counterfeit accounts for reduction of customs cost of the goods, and, hence, for delinquency in customs payments in full. Deputy chief of Petrozavodsk customs for law-enforcement activity Roman Romanov has told about such crime. Criminal case has been raised on the fact of the contraband committed by the organized group. It concerned import of Volvo saddle-type tractor from Finland with use of counterfeit documents.
- Criminals submitted documents with doubtful data to the customs, having pursued the mercenary purpose of illicit import and further legalization of the vehicle, - R.Romanov said. – However, through cooperation with customs service of Finland we have established the fact of forgery of documents.
Deputy chief of Murmansk customs for law-enforcement activity Alexey Baturin has also emphasized the advantage of information exchange at investigation of criminal cases. As he said, the Russian courts accept the data received from customs services of foreign countries as direct proofs. However, it is not always possible to receive the necessary information quickly, especially if matters concern not only customs officers, but also police and boundary service. Besides, if it is easy to come to mutual understanding in work with the Finnish party, then with Norwegian customs officers there are reserves for improvement of information exchange.
- Frank conversation and fair criticism enable us to consider law-enforcement cooperation within the scope of operating agreements in a new way. By the next coordination meeting we shall work on offers on perfection of cooperation at revealing customs offences. We have general understanding of problems. It means, that we are on the right way, - chief of the service of the Central administration on contraband control of the Federal Customs Service of Russia Alexander Bogdanov summed up the meeting.
Barents Euro-Arctic Region Council was founded in 1993 in the Norwegian city of Kirkenes at the meeting of Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Russia, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Finland, Sweden, and representative of the Commission of European communities. In Kirkenes declaration accepted at this meeting it is emphasized, that «expansion of cooperation in the Barents Euro-Arctic Region will essentially promote stability and development in the region and Europe as a whole.»
Cooperation in the Barents Region covers a wide range of questions in the field of economy, ecology, power engineering, transport, education, culture, public health, youth exchanges, prevention of extreme situations and cooperation of customs services. Close international cooperation is considered to be a useful and effective channel of formation of the area of stability, trust and sustainable development in the North.