Catherine Deneuve’s grandson held in biggest-ever fake euro op

The grandson of French film actress Catherine Deneuve has been arrested in connection with a large-scale euro counterfeiting network run by the Italian Camorra mafia.

Igor Vadim (32) was arrested last Wednesday and faces extradition to Italy to answer questions about his possible involvement with the criminal network, which according to Europol produced 25 per cent of all counterfeit euro banknotes in circulation.

The criminal organisation is believed to have produced and distributed over the years more than three million counterfeit banknotes, with a total face value of over €233m ($266m).

Vadim was one of 44 suspects arrested in Operation Nerone last week, which included law enforcement agencies from Italy, Belgium and France, with support from Netherlands-based Europol. 40 of the arrests took place in Italy, and one of those is reported to be a senior figure in the Camorra.

Around €8m in suspected criminal assets were also seized, including 50 apartments, eight business premises, two farms, 10 companies operating in various sectors, 12 vehicles, one luxurious boat and 22 bank accounts.

The investigation into the counterfeiting ring started in 2017 after €50 banknotes – so well made they must have printed on sophisticated presses – were intercepted in the province of the Italian city Benevento.

In Naples in February 2018, investigators seized 450,000 counterfeit €50 and €100 banknotes for a total face value of €41m, found hidden in barrels. The following July, an illegal mint shop of 50-euro cent coins was also dismantled in the Italian province of Lombardy.

“The counterfeiters imitated all main security features of genuine euro banknotes,” said Europol in a statement on the operation. “This network could very well be the largest ever disrupted since the very first days of the euro currency.”

The investigation uncovered links to the Camorra, as well as criminal affiliates that sought new distribution channels in Italy and abroad.

Vadim is the grandson of Deneuve and French film director and producer Roger Vadim, who died in 2000. His parents are actor Christian Vadim and screenplay writer Hortense Divetain.

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