Police take down money counterfeiting gang

in News · 13-09-2019 01:00:00 · 0 Comments
Police take down money counterfeiting gang

Portugal’s Polícia Judiciária (PJ) police force have warned that several hundred counterfeit notes are still in circulation, after dismantling the second largest counterfeit currency network in Europe with the seizure of more than €1.3 million.

Operation “Deep Money” dismantled Europe’s second-largest counterfeiting network which was selling banknotes on the darknet, seized more than 26,000 banknotes in Europe and arrested five people.

At a press conference held at the premises of the PJ in Lisbon, Luís Ribeiro, coordinator of the National Combat Unit, explained that the network was formed in early 2017 and that since then it has produced thousands of counterfeit euro banknotes “of very good quality”.

“Despite the seizure of thousands of counterfeit notes, it is to be expected that in the coming months there will still be some notes that are being seized,” he said.

The banknotes were sold on the darknet and the criminals made a profit of between 20 and 25%, i.e. €100,000 was sold for €20,000 or €25,000.

At the beginning of July and during several searches, around 5,000 counterfeit euro notes were seized in Portugal, worth around €250,000, 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 on the ‘darknet’- orders were received by the alleged head of the gang who would send that information to other members of the gang who were in Portugal who in turn produced the banknotes and sent them by mail,” explained the police officer.

Counterfeit banknotes were 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 in custody are Portuguese and French citizens.

One of the detainees, considered by PJ as the head of the network is a 35-year-old Portuguese who was arrested on 23 August in Colombia and later extradited to the PJ in Portugal.

The man has a criminal record for drug trafficking and sexual extortion.


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