OLAF-led op nets fake consumer goods, tobacco and cosmetics

A large-scale operation led by EU anti-fraud agency OLAF has resulted in the seizures of millions of counterfeit products in Europe and Asia.

The haul included around 200,000 pieces of counterfeit perfumes, toothpastes and cosmetics, 120 tonnes of fake detergents, shampoos and diapers, 77 million cigarettes and 44 tons of counterfeit water pipe tobacco.

The raids also uncovered 4.2 million other counterfeits – including battery cells, footwear, toys, tennis balls, shavers, and electronic devices, says OLAF, which hasn’t attributed a value to the seized goods.

Customs authorities carried out targeted physical or X-ray controls on several hundred selected shipments transported by sea containers.

A secure communication channel was used to handle incoming information – in real time – and this allowed experts to identify suspect flows of counterfeit goods out of ordinary commercial transactions.

OLAF coordinated the initiative – known as Operation Hygiea – with the interceptions made by customs agencies in the US and Asia. It was led by ASEM, an Asian–European political dialogue forum to enhance relations and various forms of cooperation between its partners, with support from Europol.

Targeting counterfeit goods used in the daily lives of citizens, Hygiea saw the participation of all EU member states, Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Rep. Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Switzerland, Thailand, and Vietnam.

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