Preliminary investigation into distance selling of alcohol completed: prosecutor not prosecuting – Berglunds: “We became intermediaries in this absurd mess”

Viinilehti Oy according to the press release, the special prosecutor Mari Mattila has decided not to prosecute the distance selling of wine.

Château Carsin was one of ten online alcohol sellers, including the Licensing and Supervision Agency Valvira made a request for an investigation To customs in the fall of 2020.

The customs preliminary investigation concerned the distance sale of wines in Finland. The request for an investigation was addressed to companies that paid taxes in Finland and used a tax representative – ie Tax Administration and as instructed by Customs.

In the spring of 2021, the prosecutor decided to close investigations into four cases of online alcohol sales.

According to the prosecutor, the legal ambiguity of the case did not necessitate the continuation of the preliminary investigation into the companies in question. In the case of the Berglunds, the preliminary investigation was completed and it was transferred to the prosecution in December 2021.

Absurd mess

The Alcohol Act does not define distance selling as prohibited, so the situation has been very confusing and unclear. Today, April 12, the prosecutor announced that he would not prosecute.

“Distance selling of alcohol is not, and never has been, prohibited. We have been doing this for 25 years and so far the authorities have, on the contrary, been generously advising us in our business. Me and my father Juha Berglund we became intermediaries with the authorities in this absurd mess. We are, of course, very relieved by the decision not to prosecute and are happy to be able to focus on viticulture instead of legal action, ”says Château Carsin Nea Berglund says Viinilehti.

At the same time, the EU Commission is investigating Finland’s activities related to the distance selling of alcohol. Last year, the Commission launched a so-called EU-Pilot investigation against Finland.

The purpose of the procedure is to find out whether the Finnish Alcohol Act hinders the free movement of goods from one member state to another, ie whether Finland may have violated EU legislation.

According to the press release, distance selling of alcohol is not prohibited by the Alcohol Act, but the interpretations of some Finnish authorities and Valvira’s instructions may have conveyed the impression that distance selling would be prohibited. If the Commission considers that the Finnish system is contrary to EU law, it will have the opportunity to initiate formal infringement proceedings.

“At the end of this, the European Court of Justice will decide whether Finland has acted in breach of EU law. The pilot investigation is still ongoing, ”the release said.

By Editor

Leave a Reply