$271m in fake US dollars seized in Turkey

The Turkish authorities have seized an eye-watering $271m in counterfeit US $100 banknotes in a raid on an Istanbul printing company.

The operation uncovered Turkey's biggest counterfeit currency seizure in recent years, according to newspaper Hürriyet, which said the raid was carried out last week in Istanbul's Esenyurt neighbourhood with five people arrested.

Police also seized equipment used for the printing of counterfeit notes, say local news reports. Those detained by the authorities include a former police chief.

The US Federal Reserve introduced a new $100 note design in 2011 to try to stem counterfeiting, with new security features including a 3D security ribbon and a colour-shifting bell image. The US says less than one hundredth of one percent of the value of all US currency in circulation is reported counterfeit, but acknowledges that the $100 note is the most widely circulated and most often counterfeited denomination overseas.

According to the US Secret Service’s latest (2017) annual report, the agency prevented the circulation of more than $73m in counterfeit US currency – which gives an indication of the scale of the Turkish seizure – and arrested more than 1,500 people involved in dollar counterfeiting.

Around $63m in fake dollars were seized in the Secret Service’s Latin American operations in that year, targeting countries like Peru and Colombia that are notorious as production hot spots for counterfeit US dollars

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