When the Greek Kronprinz Pavlos passed through the customs office of Zurich Airport, he found that Swiss law also applied to noble families. Pavlos was going to St. Moritz, where he participated in the Cresta Run. Upon his arrival, he wore a scarf called Shahtoosh, made of fibers from the protected Tibetan antelope. Tibetan antelope wool is the warmest and sweetest in the world – and is forbidden. For a scarf, many rare animals must be killed. Pavlos was for his luxury scarf by the Customs Administration (FCA) with 1800 francs.
This is one of 300 criminal orders made by the lawyers of the General Directorate of Customs (OZD) in 2018. Documents show how contraband goods are imported into Switzerland and how criminals deceive customs officers . OZD cases do not describe all traffic in Switzerland, with the smaller cases being handled directly at customs.
Are prohibited: Shahtoosh scarves. Photo: Getty Images
With regards to Shahtoosh scarves, the Customs Administration, in collaboration with the Federal Office for Food Safety and Veterinary Affairs, carries out development checks. These would be done especially at border crossing points, "to which an affluent clientele will be directed", as Mirjam Walker of the FCA says. These controls would take place mainly between September and March. The punitive orders suggest that in this country, fashion St. Moritz is a Mecca of Shahtoosh. Luxury scarf carriers have been released several times at Samedan Airport, five kilometers from St. Moritz.
Customs investigators also had no mercy for another luxury item: Beluga caviar is considered one of the most expensive foods in the world. The beluga sturgeon being threatened with extinction, only the farmed caviar meeting the requirements of the CITES species protection agreement can be imported. No seal of approval had the 7.25 kilograms of Beluga caviar that a Ukrainian wanted to introduce to Geneva. The investigators lost 16,100 francs.
Students now benefit from counterfeit art
The art sector is also subject to deception. One case concerned Wolfgang Beltracchi, probably the cunning art faker of the postwar period. As shown by a criminal order, the Geneva gallery "Interart" also fell for the fraudster Beltracchi. She bought the painting "The Forest", which Beltracchi had published as the work of the German artist Max Ernst.
Last year, the Customs Administration decided to hand over the fake Beltracchi to the Faculty of Criminal Sciences of the University of Lausanne. There, students must now learn, on the basis of "The Forest", that the experts found authentic, to recognize the counterfeits. Beltracchi apparently used color pigments that did not exist in the late 1920s in the painting's creation. According to spokeswoman Géraldine Falbriard, the spokeswoman Géraldine Falbriard was also identified by the author. ;label.
Customs investigators often process images whose price is too low to save money at customs. For example, Eric Fischl's image "Face off", worth more than CHF 840,000, was estimated at CHF 250,000 in Switzerland. In this respect, a historian of Moscow art has particularly acted. She arrived at Zurich Airport and stated that she had nothing to report. Customs investigators then discovered 23 oil paints worth more than 900,000 francs.
The Horseman with the Porsche
Even before the Almighty, the customs investigators do not stop. An employee of a Valais monastery imported from France and the Netherlands various religious objects declared at a price too low.
Punitive orders also show that customs investigators face a particularly high number of smugglers. The caterers save money by buying tons of meat from neighboring countries and importing them into Switzerland without prior notification.
Also prohibited: black sturgeon caviar. Photo: Getty Images
Probably the biggest discovery made by customs investigators in November at Schmitter SG. Three Serbian nationals were confiscated 978 kilograms of meat products and 113 kilograms of cream cheese. There was no statement of origin or labeling for the contraband meat. The case has not yet been closed, but the FCA has already stated that smugglers have to reckon with "sensitive buses".
Customs investigators also treated live animals. On several occasions, horse dealers brought Rösser to Switzerland without declaring it. A horse dealer particularly attracted attention by introducing 34 horses with names such as Stradivari or Little Joe in Switzerland with Porsche and a horse transporter.