Page 20, 10th August 1935

10th August 1935
Page 20
Page 20, 10th August 1935 — THE MYSTERIES OF LE HAVRE Customs Officers Are Of Use To Somebody

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Locations: Le Havre


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THE MYSTERIES OF LE HAVRE Customs Officers Are Of Use To Somebody

From Our French Correspondent Le Havre has recently been stirred by various mysterious happenings. To begua with, the disappearance of a cargo of 310 cases of munitions, coming none knows whence, going none knows whither, has attracted public notice. " Abyssinia," say some—" The Fiery Cross," say others; and tongues are wagging. The matter is far from being cleared up. and we may later have to revert .to the first mystery.

A Model Organisation Hardly had these alarms and excursions died down when a great smuggling scandal broke out. Despite the extreme discretion of the authorities it is thought that a whole fraudulent system has been brought to light. The smugglers, it is said, had so much capital behind them as to bribe successfully numbers of Customs officers. Not a single detail was left to chance. and there Must have been powerful ramiiications to allow of the functioning of the machinery for nearly three years.

Patience and Discretion It is already stated that the treasury has been defrauded of more than 150 million francs. Decidedly against the grain, the mayor of Le Havre made the following statement to the press: " Considerable deficits have occurred at Le Has re. I can say no more. An inquiry is in progress. The Customs authorities have a burdensome and delicate task before them. Every day brings fresh complications and shows up a greater number of frauds. It will take ten days or a week at least to clear up the matter of smuggling, not only in Le Havre. but other great French ports. and to decide where responsibility lies. Patience and discretionare essential if none of those concerned are to go unpunished."

It is to be hoped that such patience may be better rewarded than that of the middle-class Frenchmen who followed up the Staviski affair or the Prince question.

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