EU examines bootlegging allegations at Kabul compound

The possession and consumption of alcohol by Afghans is prohibited in the majority-Muslim country

European investigators are looking into allegations that alcohol imported by the EU's diplomatic mission in Kabul was illegally sold on the city's black market, an EU spokesman confirmed on Sunday.

Bottles of wine and spirits meant for European officials were allegedly smuggled out of the compound and bootlegged in the Afghan capital, the Guardian reported, citing social media messages now being examined by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF).

"The EEAS (European External Action Service), the European Commission and the EU Delegation in Kabul... became aware of these allegations end of August," an EU spokesman told AFP.

He said they "immediately informed the European Anti-Fraud Office on the alleged fraudulent activities referred to by the press".

The possession and consumption of alcohol by Afghans is prohibited in the majority-Muslim country but bootleggers can be found throughout the city.

Diplomatic missions and international organisations in Afghanistan are allowed to import alcohol for their foreign staff only.

OLAF is assessing the claims before deciding whether to launch an investigation, the spokesman said.

"The European External Action Service and the European Commission take any allegations of wrongdoing extremely seriously."

Documents seen by the Guardian showed the EU delegation paid more than $500,000 to its main alcohol supplier over a 20-month period.

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