'High-quality' fake euro gang taken down in Bulgaria

100 euro notesThe Bulgarian authorities have shut down an illegal workshop in the area of Pleven which counterfeited €100 banknotes of "exceptional quality."

This seizure of fake banknotes is one of Europe’s most significant in recent years, with the forged notes detected in circulation in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain, according to Europol.

The operation was carried out by Europol and the Bulgarian State Agency for National Security and Ministry of Interior. Criminal intelligence, gathered in different EU Member States and shared by Europol, led to the location in Pleven.

Finished €100 banknotes as well as unfinished banknotes in different stages of production were uncovered at the illegal print shop, along with printing presses, laser engraving machine, films, inks, hologram stickers and other printing equipment. A number of counterfeit identity documents were also seized.

Rob Wainwright, Director of Europol, said: "The global acceptance of the euro as a stable currency with low inflation makes it an attractive currency for counterfeiters."

"The information gathered during the raid and from the forensic analysis of the seized banknotes attests to the huge production potential of this criminal organisation, both in terms of quantities of counterfeited banknotes but also on account of their quality," he added.

So far, three members of this organised crime group have been taken into custody.

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