Euro counterfeit rings in France and Italy busted

French and Italian police have arrested 23 individuals and dismantled two criminal networks suspected of producing and distributing counterfeit banknotes.

The networks produced various denominations, including €20, €50 and €100 counterfeit banknotes inveigling them into circulation in 2016 and causing an estimated €4.5m-worth of damage to the European economy.

The case was initiated earlier this year when French police were tipped off about the distribution of fake banknotes. Subsequent investigations uncovered an organised crime group producing counterfeit banknotes in a print shop in Naples, Italy, with distribution tracked to a different crime ring in Nancy, France.

“The criminals in France regularly drove to Naples where they visited members of a Neapolitan family firm to whom they bought the counterfeit banknotes,” says Europol, which supported the enforcement operation. “Once back in France they resold the banknotes and they were put into circulation from Nancy to other EU member states.”

In France, nine suspects were taken into custody alongside the search of their respective houses. In the meantime, 14 members of the illegal production group were arrested in Naples, the same city in which the police officers dismantled the print shop where the banknotes were supplied. Printing and digital equipment was also seized.

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