Prague, Aug 10 (CTK) – The Czech Tax Cobra special police unit fighting serious financial crime has prevented tax evasion worth over two billion crowns in the first half of 2016, National Centre against Organised Crime (NCOZ) spokesman Jaroslav Ibehej has said on its website.

A half of the sum was seized by the Cobra regional teams.

The 870-strong NCOZ was founded by the merger of the police organised crime and corruption squads within a police shakeup on August 1.

According to the police statistics released previously, the central and regional Cobra teams jointly safeguarded 2.7 billion crowns for the state budget last year.

The sum for this year includes the money saved before any damage was incurred as well as finances seized in compensation for the caused damage.

“In the future, we would like to extend the operation of the Tax Cobra to focus on direct tax evasion and subsidy frauds as well,” Financial Administration general director Martin Janecek said.

The Central Cobra, comprised of corruption police, who newly come under the NCOZ, and employees of the General Financial Directorate and the General Customs Authority, safeguarded about one billion crowns from January to June.

“The Regional Tax Cobra, based on cooperation of customs officers, police and the regional financial authority workers, has achieved almost the same result,” Ibehej said.

The Cobra project was formally launched in April 2014. At the end of last year, the unit started operating on regional level as well. Since the beginning, the Cobra has secured almost 6.2 billion crowns.

In June, the Gambling Cobra team was established. It is to fight illegal gambling, such as unauthorised gambling rooms operating as V.I.P. clubs.