Interpol busts counterfeiter ring

in News · 20-12-2019 01:00:00 · 0 Comments

Eleven suspected counterfeiters in European countries have been arrested following house searches coordinated by EUROPOL as part of Operation Deep Money.

The Judicial Police (PJ), through the National Anti-Corruption Unit and with the collaboration of EUROPOL, dismantled last July the second largest counterfeit currency network in Europe, sold through the so-called ‘darknet’, in an operation that involved eight searches, both at home and abroad.
Five people were arrested in the Deep Money operation and more than 1,800 counterfeit notes of 50 and 10 euros were seized.
In a statement on 16 December, the PJ said that EUROPOL coordinated, between 9 and 11 of this month, a Europe-wide operation, targeting several dozen suspects who had acquired counterfeit currency through the darknet.
“After an analysis of the evidence gathered by the Judicial Police, it was possible to identify several counterfeit currency transactions, information which was communicated to Europol and subsequently optimised and disseminated by it to all the countries affected”, the note mentions.
Last week EUROPOL carried out a total of 36 house searches, identified and interrogated 44 suspects, 11 of whom were eventually arrested, and counterfeit notes, weapons, drugs, false documents and virtual coins, as well as doping substances, were seized.
The police statement also said that in Germany a network producing false documents was also dismantled, where 27 house searches were carried out, with the remaining nine being carried out in Austria, France, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg and Spain.

In July, PJ announced in a press conference that the network was formed at the beginning of 2017 and that since then it has produced thousands of counterfeit euro notes “with very good quality”, with the seized machinery being found in homes.
“Despite the seizure of thousands of counterfeit notes, it is very common that in the coming months there will still be some notes that are being seized,” said the coordinator Luís Ribeiro, of the National Combat Unit.
The banknotes were sold through the darknet and the criminals made between 20 and 25 percent profit, i.e. 100 thousand euros were sold for 20 or 25 thousand euros.
At the beginning of July and during several searches, around 5,000 counterfeit euro notes were seized in Portugal, worth around 250,000 euros, and “various objects related to the production of the notes, including computers, printers, security paper with security threads, holograms and self-adhesive holographic bands, ultraviolet inks and ink cartridges”.
“The banknotes were advertised and marketed through the ‘darknet’ and the orders were received by that way or through some mobile applications and later the alleged head of the group would send that information to the members of the group they met in Portugal who in turn produced the banknotes and sent them by mail”, explained the police officer.
Counterfeit banknotes have been seized almost everywhere in Europe, with the highest incidence in France, Germany, Spain and Portugal, and overall since January 2017 more than €1.3 million of banknotes have been seized.
Among the five people arrested and already deprived of their liberty are Portuguese and French citizens.
One of the detainees is Portuguese, is 35 years old, and is considered by PJ as the head of the network that was arrested on 23 August in Colombia and later handed over to PJ in Portugal.
The man has a criminal record for various crimes, including drug trafficking and sexual extortion.


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