One of the Guardia Civil vehicles during the operation in the centre of Marbella. / JOSELE

Marbella law firm and villa searched in large Guardia Civil operation

The operation is part of an international fraud investigation led by the European Public Prosecutor's Office

JOAQUINA DUEÑAS/DAVID LERMA/IRENE QUIRANTE

Guardia Civil officers, in a major deployment in the centre of Marbella, searched a law firm in Calle Ricardo Soriano early on Tuesday morning. A villa in the area of Nagüeles was also searched.

The operation, in which dozens of armed officers have been involved, is part of an ongoing international investigation.

According to sources, Tuesday morning's raid is linked to an operation launched by the European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO) to track down a complex system of VAT (valued added tax) fraud, apparently based on the sale of electronic goods, which allegedly benefited several criminal organisations.

Police raids have been carried out, according to the same sources, simultaneously in 14 European countries: Belgium, Cyprus, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Spain.

As part of the same operation, police had already acted in Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Slovakia and Sweden on 12 and 13 October. According to the EPPO, after the intervention the respective police forces had obtained information that is being analysed, although the investigation remains open.

According to the EPPO, the fraud under investigation in different European countries could amount to 2.2 billion euros.