Spanish police seize record sum in fake EUR 500 bills
Spanish police said they had seized almost nine million euros worth of fake EUR 500 bills, a European Union record for notes of this denomination.
"Police carried out the biggest seizure of fake 500-euro bills ever made in the European Union," police said in a statement.
It said the seizure took place in the eastern province of Valencia where police uncovered a "sophisticated laboratory".
Police said they seized EUR eight million (USD 11.5 million) worth of notes that were close to being finished and EUR 850,000 that had already been printed.
Fourteen people were arrested, police added.
The investigation began late last year on the sidelines of an inquiry into a drug-trafficking network operating out of the port of Valencia.
The inquiry into drug trafficking led to the discovery of another organisation based in an aircraft hangar where police found sophisticated machines bought in France. Several members of the group had travelled to China to acquire chemicals.
Police also seized boxes of paper at the airport that had come from China and were to be used to produce fake currency.
In a separate statement, the European police agency Europol estimated that the amount of material seized would have been enough to forge EUR 660 million.
Five-hundred-euro bills in Spain are sometimes nicknamed Bin Ladens -- because everyone knows about them but no one ever sees one. They were suspected of being used on the black market, mainly for illicit real estate payments during the recent property boom.
AFP / Expatica