Counterfeit perfume production site busted in Italy

Italian police have dismantled an organised crime group involved in the trafficking of counterfeit perfumes and other goods produced in EU-neighbouring countries.

The criminals were importing perfumes in bulk filled in tanks – via a route through the Balkans between Turkey and Eastern European countries – with the bulk liquid then packed in an illegal assembly site.

Europol, which assisted the Carabinieri Corps in the enforcement action, said it believes the products were packed quickly before being delivered to the buyers, in order to minimise the risk of detection by avoiding stocking in big quantities.

"The work performed by the underground assembly point was very difficult to detect since the individuals involved created a sophisticated supply chain showing the complete counterfeit product to the buyers only hours before they were delivered," said the agency in a statement.

The investigation began in 2020 after 600 packs of counterfeit perfume were discovered by the authorities, and eventually uncovered a criminal network operating across 10 Italian provinces, centring around Piedmont. 15 individuals have been reported to the judicial authority.

Searches by the Carabinieri on 18 June uncovered 1,104 packages of counterfeit perfume, as well as other fake items including 597 clothing items, two watches, 30 leather accessories, 313 computer accessories, and €7,000 in cash deemed to be the proceeds of the illegal activity.

The seized products could have earned the criminals approximately €80,000 if sold on at the genuine manufacturer's recommended retail prices, but it is estimated that the gang was making around €15,000 per month in illegal proceeds.

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