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Customs hit brick wall on refrigerant trade

BULGARIA: In a curious twist on recent European illegal trade stories, a Turkish man faces up to 10 years in prison for not carrying refrigerant gas across a European border.

A 44-year-old Turkish citizen, named only as Mehmet B, has been remanded in custody by a Bulgarian court after being found to be using false documents in attempting to transport goods across the Bulgarian border into Northern Macedonia.

The truck driven by the accused was stopped on October 2 at the Bulgarian border checkpoint at Gyueshevo. According to the court, a set of customs documents were presented indicating that the truck contained refrigerant gas, denoted as “Freon” (the former DuPont trade name for CFCs which has been erroneously adopted around the world as a generic name for refrigerants). 

Instead of refrigerant, the customs authorities found 18 pallets of bricks. 

Presenting false documents is a crime under the Bulgarian criminal code, for which which the law provides for penalties of imprisonment for a term of 3 to 10 years and a fine of BGN20,000 to BGN100,000 (approx €10,000 to €50,000).

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