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Policy brief

Use of Corruption and the Illicit Market of Tobacco Products

Driving Factors and Trends, Policy Brief No. 91

Surveys of organised crime related to the illicit tobacco market in Bulgaria, conducted over the last 20 years, show an extremely intensive use of various corruptive practices at all levels of illicit trade. The record low level achieved at the end of 2019 - 3.3% according to the EPS, gave rise to a discussion regarding the risks of the market for illegal tobacco products growing again.

Expert estimates stipulate that unless there is an extremely dramatic change in taxation policy similar to these in 2006 or the 2009-2010 period, no significant shocks should be expected. The current analysis shows that criminal networks still active in the illicit trade in tobacco products have almost been completely destroyed at all levels. The fragmented residues that are still functioning do not have the capacity for significant expansion. In addition, market research shows that there has been a radical change in the attitude of Bulgarian consumers who have lost their habit of intensively searching for illegal tobacco products.

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