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Record income for customs and excise

The customs and excise authorities took in more money last year than ever before.

In its annual report released on Thursday, the Federal Customs Administration (FCA) also said it intercepted twice as much smuggled medicine in 2008 than in 2007.

The FCA earned a total of SFr23.7 billion in 2008, up by 700 million on 2007, and equivalent to 37 per cent of the annual federal income. Value added tax accounted for SFr12 billion.

The medicaments seized included body building and doping products and also slimming drugs. The number of such seizures was up from 366 to 687. Some of the products were fakes, while others were either banned in Switzerland, or available on prescription only.

However, the amounts of narcotics seized were sharply down.

Customs officials also confiscated 175 tonnes of smuggled foodstuffs. Fruit and vegetables replaced meat as the most frequently smuggled foods.

Officials investigated 7,000 cases of organised smuggling, down from 8,000 in 2007. In most cases the aim was to avoid value added tax.

Other duties performed by the customs officials included checking the roadworthiness of trucks and preventing the entry of illegal immigrants and people trafficking.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR