Increase in Receipt of
Increase in Receipt of
Cooperation in the fight
against Euro counterfeiting yields good results. Joint Investigation Team set up
and 20 significant print shops dismantled in 2003.
The Hague, The Netherlands,
January 22, 2004.
During the second half of 2003, Europol markedly increased its level of
support to Member States in the field of Euro forgery. Further counterfeited
Euro banknotes were recovered and removed from circulation by the competent law
enforcement agencies both within the EU and outside. Furthermore, large
quantities were also prevented from circulating both with and without the
support of Europol.
In 2003, twenty significant clandestine print shops were dismantled, of which
eleven were operating in offset printing techniques and nine digital. Amongst
these, five offset and two digital printing shops were located outside the
Euro-zone. In addition two clandestine mint shops were also dismantled within
In terms of quantity the European Central Bank (ECB) confirmed that around
550,000 counterfeit Euro notes were taken out of circulation in 2003.
The nature of Cooperation
Europol has assimilated responsibility as the European Central Office for the
suppression of Euro counterfeiting. Cooperation with the European Central Bank,
Interpol, USSS (United State Secret Service) and mainly with the competent
National Central Offices functioned well.
This combination of immense effort and superior has given Member States
authorities the ability to impose further considerable pressure on the criminal
Euro counterfeiting organisations.. However, additional improvements are
necessary in terms of common European legislation to boost mutual
Europol’s supportive role in gathering and analysing data and intelligence
has also led to the initiation of investigations in non-EU countries with which
Europol and the Member States of the EU have cooperation agreements. Thanks to
the nature of this cooperation substantial operational results have been
achieved in a number of non-EU countries. These include the identification of
illegal printshops producing high-quality counterfeit currency for distribution
via networks throughout Europe from within countries such as Lithuania, Poland,
Serbia and Bulgaria.
With the establishment of an international Joint Investigation Team, Europol
has started a number of major cases to target criminal groups based in non-EU
countries. So far these groups have been isolated as dealing with counterfeit
Euro currency and have partially been identified.
Assessing the extent of the
The intelligence analysed at Europol indicates that the network of criminal
groups based both outside and inside the EU is well established and fosters
formidable working relationships. Counterfeit Euro notes are imported from the
main producing countries via several means of transportation. Deprived or
unemployed people are frequently deceived by false pretences and unfeasible
promises and exploited to courier the merchandise into the EU.
Europol’s partners are dramatically increasing the demand for Europol to
enhance its operational activities. Furthermore, Europol’s support role for
investigations in non-EU countries is only restrained by budgetary commitments
and the flow of information via Europol is in a continual state of growth. This
is clearly demonstrated by the increase in the number of cases and individuals
that have been reported to Europol. More than 2,410 cases – an increase of 112%
in respect of last year (1,132 cases) - and 1,978 perpetrators - an increase of
91% (1,031 perpetrators) - in respect of 2002, suspects or arrested individuals
identified as responsible for the manufacture and/or distribution of counterfeit
Euro notes, have been entered into the system.