Customs Criminal Police Office

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Customs Criminal Police Office
- ZKA -

State level Federation
position Part of a higher federal authority, as Directorate VIII of the General Customs Directorate
Supervisory authority Federal Ministry of Finance
founding July 12, 1992
Headquarters Cologne , North Rhine-Westphalia
Authority management Rainer Mellwig, President of the Board of Directors
Servants about 1000
Web presence

The Customs Criminal Police Office ( ZKA ) is the headquarters of the German customs investigation service , whose main task is the prosecution and prevention of medium, serious and organized customs crime. It coordinates and directs the investigations of the eight affiliated customs investigation offices and their 24 branch offices. In cases of particular importance, the Customs Criminal Police Office can conduct investigations itself. It also acts as one of the central offices for information and communications in the German Federal Customs Administration . It also houses the German central office for financial transaction investigations, the Financial Intelligence Unit ( FIU ).

As Directorate VIII, the Customs Criminal Police Office is part of the General Customs Directorate ( GZD ), a higher federal authority within the portfolio of the Federal Ministry of Finance . The Customs Criminal Police Office, however, has a special position as a functional unit within the GZD , taking into account its legally standardized position within the network of German security authorities .

Part of the building of the Customs Criminal Police Office in Cologne-Dellbrück

The Customs Criminal Police Office has its headquarters in Cologne . There are also offices in Berlin , Weiden idOPf ., Frankfurt / Oder , Wiesbaden , Bonn , Münster and Linnich .

Predecessor authority of Zollkriminalamt was the 1952 established Customs Criminal Institute .


The legal basis for the Customs Investigation Service and thus also for the Customs Criminal Police Office is the Customs Investigation Service Act (ZFdG). It regulates the powers and the area of ​​responsibility of the customs investigation service and enables u. a. to intervene in telecommunications and correspondence in order to obtain early information about serious violations in the area of ​​jurisdiction. The ZKA officials are investigators for the public prosecutor's office, but not police officers.

Further legal bases result from the laws on the individual fields of activity of the ZKA (e.g. the Foreign Trade Act (AWG) , the Customs Administration Act or the Customs Code of the European Union ).

According to Section 1 of the Financial Administration Act (FVG), the General Customs Directorate is a federal finance authority with the rank of a higher federal authority.

Organization and tasks

Department A - International Cooperation, Risk Management, Central Technical Management

Department B - Foreign trade surveillance and customs crime

Department C - Customs Investigation Assistance

Department D - Central Office for Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU)

National central office ( Financial Intelligence Unit ) for receiving, collecting and evaluating reports on unusual or suspicious financial transactions in order to combat

The central office is organizationally independent and works professionally independently within the scope of its tasks and powers (Section 27 (2) of the GwG). It is an independent functional authority within the Customs Criminal Police Office and is not itself a criminal prosecutor.

Regional Liaison Office of the World Customs Organization for Western Europe

International name: Regional Intelligence Liaison Office for Western Europe (RILO-WE)

  • Evaluation and analysis of seizures by customs administrations
  • Planning and coordination of regional and international customs operations
  • Contact point for international organizations

The training of customs officers to become customs investigators and their further training also takes place as far as possible at the Customs Criminal Police Office itself.


The management of the Customs Criminal Police Office is paid according to salary group B 6 and the deputy according to B 3.

President (since 2016: President of the Board of Directors) Vice President (since 2016: Vice President of the Management Board)
July 1992 - April 2010 Karl-Heinz Matthias July 1992 - October 2008 Paul Wamers
October 2010 - December 2011 Paul Wamers October 2008 - November 2012 Margrit Neumann
January 2012 - July 2018 Norbert Drude since November 2012 Werner Turek
since January 2019 Rainer Mellwig

Since 2016, the official title of the head of the ZKA has been President of Directorate VIII of the General Customs Directorate . The designation of the deputy head is department head A of directorate VIII or deputy director .


Predecessor authorities

As after the First World War , tax morale had reached a low point after the Second World War and the smuggling and smuggling activity had assumed threatening proportions. In particular, forgeries of documents occurred in a variety of forms and qualities, so that their investigation caused great problems for the local customs officials. In 1949 the Central Customs Message Center was therefore established in Frankfurt am Main . Two years later this was merged with the newly established customs criminal science laboratory at the customs technical examination and teaching institute (ZPLA) in Cologne. On January 1, 1952, the Federal Minister of Finance then set up the Customs Criminal Investigation Institute (ZKI), which was expanded on the model of the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) and took on special tasks in the area of ​​forensic science.

In 1986, as the Central Customs Investigation Office, the ZKI was granted its own investigative powers and the status of a local federal authority with nationwide responsibility. A sudden increase in tasks was shown above all in the areas of monitoring foreign trade and traffic with market regulation goods, combating drug smuggling and international legal and administrative assistance from customs administrations. The EU internal market and German reunification also resulted in additional tasks.

Foundation of the ZKA

In 1989 the federal government recognized the high burdens on the ZKI as the central office for customs investigations. As a result, in February 1991, in addition to improving the quality of export controls, it also decided to expand the central function of the ZKI for the exchange of information between licensing, surveillance and law enforcement authorities. With the law amending the Finance Administration Act and other laws ( Federal Law Gazette I p. 1222 ) which came into force on July 15, 1992, it implemented this political resolution. According to § 1 No. 3 of the Finance Administration Act, the Customs Criminal Police Office, as the federal agency, was the central agency responsible for investigations of particular importance in the area of ​​customs administration.

The name was also changed because the term "Zollkriminalinstitut" primarily expressed the now non-priority forensic-oriented activity from the early years of the ZKI.

Since 1998 the Customs Criminal Police Office has been housed in the former Moorslede barracks in the Dellbrück district of Cologne .

In view of the changing Europe , the German customs investigation changed its shape at the beginning of the new millennium. The European internal market and the opening of the borders have changed the crime situation, including customs investigation, far-reaching.

In order to be able to fight customs crime effectively and sustainably under changed conditions, the customs investigation service was also fundamentally reformed. In the course of this restructuring, 21 Customs Investigation Offices with 31 branch offices were concentrated in 8 Customs Investigation Offices and 24 offices. In addition, these departments are now organizationally linked to the ZKA.

With the law on the reorganization of the customs investigation service (Zollfahndungsneuregelungsgesetz - ZFnrG) ( Federal Law Gazette I p. 3202 ), the organization of the customs investigation service and the tasks and powers of the ZKA were re-regulated in 2002 and the Customs Investigation Service Act (ZFdG) became an independent legal basis for action for the customs investigation service created. A uniform line of organization with a strict link between the customs investigation offices and the ZKA should ensure the coordinated work of the customs investigation under the uniform roof of the customs criminal investigation office.

Establishment of the General Customs Directorate

When the law on the reorganization of the customs administration ( Federal Law Gazette I p. 2178 ) came into force on January 1, 2016, the ZKA was integrated as a directorate with ordinal number VIII into the newly established General Customs Directorate (GZD) with its headquarters in Bonn. Directorate VIII is still based in Cologne and has retained all technical responsibilities.

Takeover of the central office for financial transaction investigations from the BKA

On June 26, 2017, the law implementing the Fourth EU Money Laundering Directive, implementing the EU Money Transfer Ordinance and reorganizing the Central Office for Financial Transaction Investigations ( Federal Law Gazette I p. 1822 ) established the Central Office for Financial Transaction Investigations as the German Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU). Relocated from the BKA in the business area of ​​the Federal Ministry of the Interior to customs in the business area of ​​the Federal Ministry of Finance and attached to the ZKA as a new department with the regulatory letter D.

Media reports

  • November 1999 was a nationwide corruption scandal in the Reuter affair u. a. discovered in the customs administration. For years, customs investigators had preferred a certain provider for favors worth more than 100,000 euros in the procurement of wiretapping technology . As a result, various authorities across Germany investigated more than 400 people for taking advantage and taking bribes.
  • In 2004 the Customs Criminal Police Office publicly sided with the Frankfurt customs officer Stefan R. He had prevented nuclear weapons from being smuggled into Iran and was dismissed for allegedly exceeding his competence. While the Oberfinanzdirektion Koblenz, responsible for Frankfurt Airport , tried to defend the publicly heavily criticized dismissal, the Customs Criminal Police Office praised the services of the dismissed officer for warding off a "danger to the external relations of the Federal Republic of Germany". The case caused a stir nationwide and also attracted attention abroad. The release was initially lifted on November 13, 2006 by the Frankfurt am Main administrative court. The Oberfinanzdirektion lodged an appeal against this. After 7 years of legal dispute, the dismissal was finally overturned by the Hessian Administrative Court on June 8, 2011 after being referred back by the Federal Administrative Court.
  • In 2005 , drunken officials at the training center for special forces in Stetten am kalten Markt used illegal firearms with practice ammunition. The Customs Criminal Police Office reacted immediately and initiated disciplinary measures against the perpetrators.
  • In 2011–2012 , as part of the analysis by the Chaos Computer Club and the subsequent press reports in the case of the so-called “ State Trojan ”, it became known that the Customs Criminal Police Office had also procured the controversial software from DigiTask and used it in several cases.
  • On July 14 , 2020 , the central office for financial transaction investigations at the Customs Criminal Police Office , which was only created in 2017, was searched by the public prosecutor and the police. There was suspicion of thwarting punishment in the office, as the " Spiegel " had previously reported on money laundering in connection with transactions in African countries that were not forwarded or were forwarded late by the relevant office in the ZKA.


  • Paul Wamers, Bernd Josef Fehn: Handbook customs investigation. O. Schmidt, Cologne 2006, ISBN 3-504-46001-6 .
  • Paul Wamers: Customs and Customs Investigation. In: The Criminalist. 20. Vol., H. 4, 1988, p. 153 \ u2013156.
  • Paul Wamers: The Customs Criminal Police Office. Position, consequences and outlook. In: The German customs officer. 47th vol., No. 4, 1994, pp. F 37-F 39 and No. 5, pp. F 47f., F 53
  • Paul Wamers: Joint investigation groups on drugs of customs and police in the Federal Republic of Germany. In: The Criminalist. 24th vol., H. 12, 1992, p. 542 \ u2013544.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Archive link ( Memento from March 4, 2016 in the Internet Archive )
  2. Customs online - specialist departments. Retrieved August 9, 2017 .
  3. Federal Government | Article | With more staff against money laundering. Retrieved August 9, 2017 .
  4. The tricky gifts from the spy specs. In: Hamburger Morgenpost. November 9, 2000.
  5. CORRUPTION: Targeted advantage. In: Focus. No. 30, 2001.
  6. Of hand grenades and atomic detonators. In: Hessischer Rundfunk. November 12, 2006.
  7. Dismissed because too vigilant: How authorities harass a small customs officer ( Memento from December 13, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) ZDF-Frontal21 from September 25, 2007.
  8. ^ The German Connection. ( Memento of July 24, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) In: Haaretz . November 28, 2007.
  9. Customs officer suing customs. In: Frankfurter Neue Presse. November 14, 2006.
  10. Customs Secretary z. A. successfully defends himself against dismissal. Press release of the Hess. VGH of June 8, 2011.
  11. Customs special unit rioted in training center. In: Südwestrundfunk . December 22, 2005.
  12. Final report of the Federal Data Protection Commissioner
  13. Ansgar Siemens, Jörg Diehl, DER SPIEGEL: Investigators take action against special customs unit - DER SPIEGEL - Panorama. Retrieved July 15, 2020 .

Coordinates: 50 ° 58 ′ 34 "  N , 7 ° 3 ′ 47"  E