French police smash biggest-ever euro-counterfeiting ring
French police have smashed a cash-counterfeiting ring that produced over nine million euros-worth of fake banknotes in a hidden printshop in a village east of Paris. They had been searching for the operation’s Mr Big for months after more than 350,000 fake 20-euro and 50-euro notes went into circulation.
Police staged two raids, on Tuesday and Wednesday, and found the printshop hidden behind a false wall and under a concrete slab on an industrial site in a village between the towns of Meaux and Chelles.
France's Central Bureau for Fighting Counterfeiting (OCRFM) has been working on the case, which is the biggest ever in France, since the counterfeit notes first appeared in 2007.
Dozens of people, mostly from the traveller community, have been arrested for distributing the notes but the master-counterfeiter remained hidden for five years.
The notes were of high quality and produced digitally, rather than by the usual offset printing method.
About 90 per cent of the notes were put into circulation in France with the rest launched in neighbouring countries.
The operation’s chief was a man in his 50s with a criminal record for counterfeiting, police said.
Between 30 and 40 fake-money operations are broken up in France every year, the highest number in the European Union.