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ATO circles illicit tobacco operation in major ABF taskforce

Details surrounding an ATO investigation into an alleged illicit tobacco manufacturing operation have been shared, with backing from the Australian Border Force (ABF).

Tax&Compliance Emma Ryan 07 January 2022
— 1 minute read

Last month, the ATO, supported by the partners of the ABF-led Illicit Tobacco Taskforce (ITTF), executed warrants at several locations in Sydney’s Marrickville and Brighton-Le-Sands, which resulted in the seizure of over 1.7 tonnes of loose-leaf tobacco, more than 1.5 million cigarettes and thousands of cigars – all of which had an estimated excise forgone value of more than $4 million. 


In addition, three cigarette manufacturing machines, labels, barcodes and approximately $116,000 in cash were seized.

ABF Commander Special Investigations Greg Linsdell thanked the ATO for its involvement in assisting the taskforce.

“The ITTF combines the exceptional operational, investigative, and intelligence capabilities of the ABF, ATO, Department of Home Affairs, Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre and Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions,” Commander Linsdell explained.

“This is an outstanding achievement and I applaud the ATO and the ITTF’s officers for their ongoing dedication to combatting criminal syndicates involved in the manufacture and distribution of illicit tobacco in Australia, which undermines the interests of legitimate businesses.”

ATO acting assistant commissioner, Megan Croaker, added: “Involvement in illicit tobacco production is a serious offence. This type of activity takes vital money away from the community and places it directly into the hands of organised crime syndicates.

“In addition, retailers choosing to become involved in the sale of illegal tobacco gain an unfair price advantage over honest businesses who are doing the right thing.”

ATO circles illicit tobacco operation in major ABF taskforce
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Emma Ryan

Emma Ryan

Emma Ryan is the deputy head of content at Momentum Media and editor of the company's legal publication, Lawyers Weekly.

Emma has worked for Momentum Media since 2015 and has been responsible for breaking some of the biggest stories in corporate Australia. In addition, she has produced exclusive multimedia and event content related to the company's respective brands and audiences.

A journalist by training, Emma has spent her career connecting with key industry stakeholders across a variety of platforms, including online, podcast and radio. She graduated from Charles Sturt University with a Bachelor of Communications (Journalism).