In brief

Throughout the COVID-19 emergency, to ensure compliance with the pandemic containment measures and consumer protection, the Italian Tax Police carried out several checks to combat both the illegal marketing of personal protective equipment, and other useful goods for dealing with the epidemiological emergency, and misleading and speculative conduct.

In particular, in the first months of 2020, 655 reports were made for crimes of fraud, commercial fraud, sales of products with misleading signs, forgery and the handling of stolen goods; 138 administrative sanctions were recorded; more than 26.3 million masks and personal protective equipment were seized; and approximately 724,000 packages of sanitisers sold as disinfectants were seized.

Furthermore, the Italian Tax Police carried out inspections aimed at countering anti-competitive and speculative practices committed by taking advantage of the increased demand for certain goods to cope with the epidemiological emergency. Specifically, the investigated speculative operations revealed conduct distorting price-formation processes, which resulted in 195 individuals being reported to the judicial authority for speculative activities on goods and the seizure of more than 1 million products, some of which were marketed to the public with markups of up to 6,000% with respect to the purchase price.