€450k in fake euros found in Romania

The Romanian authorities – backed by Europol – have dismantled an organised crime group counterfeiting euros and Romanian lei, seizing €450,000-worth of fake €50, €100 and €500 banknotes.

The ring was busted yesterday as it was planning to put counterfeit banknotes equivalent to €50,000 into circulation, in an operation that involved searches of 28 houses and resulted in 10 arrests. These banknotes – produced on paper – were distributed in several EU countries including Austria, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia and Spain.

The investigation also discovered that the counterfeiters had recently acquired the necessary technology to use polymers – supposed to be harder to copy than paper – as well as fake Romanian lei.

The operation came just after the European Central Bank (ECB) reported a historic dip in counterfeits of euro banknotes, down almost 18 per cent in 2020 compared to the prior year. According to the bank, 460,000 banknotes were removed form circulation last year, down from 59,000 withdrawn in 2019.

The Romanian operation resulted in 1,300 counterfeit banknotes being identified and withdrawn from circulation.

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