Spain seizes fake €3m in biggest raid on forgers

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The Independent Online

Spanish police have seized nearly three million counterfeit euros and detained 27 people in what they say is the biggest raid of its kind since the currency was introduced in 2002.

Spanish police have seized nearly three million counterfeit euros and detained 27 people in what they say is the biggest raid of its kind since the currency was introduced in 2002.

Police caught the forgers printing €20, €50, €100 and €200 notes in a house in Villaviciosa de Odon, outside Madrid, and in a caravan in Puerta de Hierro, north-west of the capital. Most were ready to be released into circulation. Some were still in printed sheets. The fake notes were of very high quality, police said, distinguishable from the real thing principally by their smoothness. Genuine notes have a rough texture.

Police seized computers, presses, scanners, four luxury cars, €19,920 in genuine notes, 16 firearms, knives, a machete, 1kg of hashish and 2.5kg of gold jewellery. They froze 23 bank accounts belonging to the detainees, who were mostly Spanish Gypsies, but included a Moroccan and a Uruguayan.

Their strategy was to pass on the forged notes through a network of intermediaries who released them throughout Spain, mostly through small businesses and market stalls. With notes bigger than €100, the suspects bought computer equipment, jewels, vehicles and other expensive goods which they then sold on for real money.

Police do not believe the euros have been exported although they said some could have moved to other countries through trade and travel.

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