C&A says it has been the victim of years of customs fraud in Serbia. However, the fashion chain has to pay for the costs itself, so it has decided to file for bankruptcy in the country.
Fraudulent imports from China
C&A claims it has been the target of organised customs fraud: a business partner and other, as of yet unknown, perpetrators have carried out more than 300 fraudulent acts that contravene Serbian customs regulations, the company says in a press release. According to the Blic newspaper, Chinese goods were smuggled into the country in the name of C&A for almost seven years, worth six million euros in lost state revenue.
Although after “months of investigation and evidence”, the chain claims that others abused the C&A logo, the favourable customs status and the power of the local customs representative for C&A, the Serbian customs authority is nevertheless of the opinion that the fashion multinational itself must bear the customs costs of the goods.
C&A therefore sees no other option than to file for bankruptcy for the Serbian branch. Further proceedings are handled by an administrator, but the fourteen shops are already closed and 135 employees lose their jobs. C&A itself says it was first informed of the fraudulent imports by Serbian customs in October 2021. The company emphasises that there are no consequences outside of Serbia.