One of the biggest counterfeit euro print shops in Europe has been dismantled in Poland in an operation of the Polish Police supported by Europol. A record number of counterfeit banknotes in 50 and 500 euro denominations were seized, with a total nominal value of over one million euros.
The Polish Police were first investigating fraudulent activities connected with the use of counterfeit documents. Officers from the Polish Central Investigation Bureau (CBI), who dealt with the case, focused on one of the threads which led to the place where fake identification cards were being produced. They then realised that counterfeit money was being produced in the same place.
The final raid took place on the evening of 3 October 2011. Police officers entered a business premises near Warsaw, where they discovered a complete printing plant, producing fake banknotes as well as forged documents. During the raid a 65-year old man was arrested for the production of counterfeit banknotes and fake documents.
During the operation, police seized the 50 and 500 euro denomination counterfeit banknotes, which were already prepared for distribution but packed and hidden in various lockers at the suspect’s premises. Also confiscated were thousands of uncut sheets with security features such as holograms, as well as inks and dies intended for further counterfeit production. Based on the seizure it is thought that several million fake euro notes could be soon on the market. The police also took away large quantities of counterfeit documents and related production materials including identity cards, passports, vehicle registration documents from different European countries, legal deeds and stamps of different state offices.
Europol officials assisted the police operation by facilitating the international cooperation, establishing the distribution network for the counterfeits outside of Poland and by providing technical support on the spot
Polish authorities say that it cannot be excluded that the criminals were preparing a large amount of fake euro banknotes for circulation during the upcoming UEFA EURO 2012 European Football Championship, being held in Poland and Ukraine.