In a coordinated effort led by Europol, law enforcement agencies across Europe have successfully dismantled a sophisticated counterfeiting operation.

On June 10, 2024, in Lecce, Italy, the Italian Carabinieri conducted a decisive raid resulting in the arrest of a prominent counterfeiter and the seizure of significant amounts of counterfeit currency.

The operation, which involved authorities from Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, and Spain, marks a significant milestone in the fight against financial crime. Investigators had been diligently tracking the criminal group since February 2024, culminating in the raid on the counterfeit print shop.

During the operation, over EUR 100,000 in counterfeit banknotes, spanning various denominations, were confiscated. Additionally, authorities seized more than EUR 10,000 in cryptocurrencies, highlighting the evolving nature of illicit financial transactions.

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The counterfeit print shop was equipped with advanced machinery and materials, enabling the production of highly convincing fake banknotes. Analysis by the European Central Bank confirmed the sophistication of the counterfeit security features, including holograms, underscoring the challenges faced by authorities in combating such crimes.

One notable aspect of the operation was the utilization of encrypted messenger services for the sale of counterfeit banknotes. Buyers could discreetly place orders and make payments in cryptocurrencies, further complicating efforts to track down the perpetrators.

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