Bulgarian ring behind 16 million euros in fake cash

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Seventeen Bulgarians arrested last week for counterfeiting have been accused of distributing more than 16 million euros worth of fake banknotes across Europe, Europol has announced.

SOFIA - "The counterfeits, with a face value of more than 16 million euros (22.4 million dollars), were distributed all over Europe since 2005," the European police office said in a statement.

"The counterfeits of 100, 200 and 500-euro denomination, printed by the criminal group, were mainly distributed in Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands and Spain but affect the entire European Union," it added.

Europol director Rob Wainwright praised the operation as "a massive blow to a major gang of counterfeiters."

Bulgaria's interior ministry announced last week that 400,000 euros' worth of high-quality fake euro notes had been seized during an operation that involved some 20 house searches in Bulgaria and resulted in 17 arrests.

Europol estimated in its statement however that the gang could be behind the printing and distribution of well over 82,000 counterfeit euro notes.


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