In December, the Italian Comando Carabinieri Antifalsificazione Monetaria, with the support of Europol, dismantled an illegal counterfeit currency print shop in Melegnano.

In this print shop, the criminals counterfeited euro banknotes (the new 5 euro, 10 euro and 20 euro notes), as well as U.S. dollar banknotes. Investigations resulted in the neutralizing of a criminal network involved in the production and distribution of counterfeit currency, which covered large areas of national territory and most EU member countries.

Those arrested were part of an organized crime group that usually operates from the Italian region of Campania. For many years, currency counterfeiting activities in Italy were concentrated in the area of Naples, Caserta and surrounding provinces. The operation in Melegnano has confirmed the trend for relocating the production of counterfeit currency away from the provinces of Naples and Caserta.

During the raid in Melegnano, the Italian authorities, supported by Europol, found and seized printers, inks, punching dies, foils and other equipment for the production of counterfeit euro and U.S. dollar banknotes. Overall more than 1,000 counterfeit banknotes were found on the premises of the print shop.

The Europol Forensics Laboratory, has recently been accredited against the criteria of the International Standard ISO/IEC 17020 for the forensic examination of banknotes, thus complying with the requirements for the competence of an Inspection Body and the professional judgment of its inspectors to undertake forensic examinations.

Europol is the EU’s central hub for combating euro counterfeiting, in particular the identification of printing methods, together with the analysis and comparison of genuine and counterfeit samples. In 2016 alone, Europol supported 31 investigations targeting criminal networks involved in euro currency counterfeiting.