Updated April 16
What was supposed to be a one-ton pallet full of eggs in Rome’s Leonardo Da Vinci airport ended up being over a million Euro worth of undeclared Cuban cigars.
On April 4, Italian customs, along with the Finance Guard of Rome’s Provincial Command, became suspicious after seeing a shipment of boxes each marked “30 Docenas de Huevos”—30 dozen eggs. After opening each package, officials discovered the 63 parcels actually contained boxes of Cuban cigars, ranging from Montecristo No. 2s to Cohiba Behikes, none of them declared. There were approximately 700 to 800 cigars in each parcel, amounting to approximately 50,000 cigars.
Cigars that are exported from Cuba to Italy are typically declared at customs and sent straight to Italy’s regional distributor Diadema SpA, a partner of Habanos S.A., the Cuban company that controls Cuba’s cigar industry. The cigars are then taxed and sold to tobacconists throughout Italy, including the country’s two La Casa del Habano franchises, one in Rome and one in Milan.
In a statement, Habanos described the seized cigars as counterfeit, but Cigar Insider contacted Gonzalo Fernández de Navarrete González Valerio, subdirector of marketing operations for Habanos, for further clarification.
For more on the story, see the next Cigar Insider.