High-quality counterfeit euro banknotes were seized during a crackdown on an illegal workshop in Northern Bulgaria, according to Europol.
Late last month, Europol, working in co-operation with Bulgarian authorities, dismantled an illegal workshop that produced counterfeit 100 euro banknotes in the area of Pleven. The seizure is among Europe’s most significant in recent years, authorities said, “on account of the quality of the forged notes detected in circulation in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.”
“The global acceptance of the euro as a stable currency with low inflation makes it an attractive currency for counterfeiters,” said Rob Wainwright, Europol director. “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. I am pleased to see Bulgaria’s determined fight against organised crime and such operations are an important contribution to the protection of the euro.”
Authorities seized finished 100 euro banknotes ready for distribution as well as unfinished banknotes in different stages of production. A number of other items were seized, including printing presses, laser engraving machine, films, inks, hologram stickers and other printing equipment. Several counterfeit identity documents were also seized.
Europol reports three members of the organized crime group responsible for this counterfeiting operation are in custody.