Europol backs crackdown on Israeli fake watch network

15 people have been arrested in Belgium, the Netherlands, Slovakia and Israel for producing and importing counterfeit watches to Antwerp’s “Diamond District.”

The operation, led by Belgian law enforcement and supported by Europol, was carried out on March 12 and revolved around raids in the four countries that uncovered 165 luxury watches with certificates, jewellery and other counterfeit products, 200 diamonds, weapons and €209,000 in cash.

They also seized 14 kg of drugs, exposing once again the links between counterfeiting and other activities carried by organised crime networks.

The investigation dates back to 2022 when police intercepted a package containing 600 grams of cocaine in Brussels destined for Israel.

It was subsequently revealed that a criminal organisation originating in Israel which engaged in drug trafficking also manufactured fake luxury watches outside the EU by mixing original parts with fake components to mislead potential customers.

Once the watches were produced, they would import them to Belgium and introduce counterfeit diamonds and watches into the market.

Besides confusing buyers, this modus operandi also undermined the reputation of the Antwerp Diamond District and “calls into question the unique certification applied to these luxury items in which customers place their trust,” said Europol.

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