Counterfeiting ring dismantled in Berlin

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German investigators busted a counterfeiting gang that allegedly sold large quantities of fake clothing out of Berlin. The fakes presumably originated from Turkey and are estimated to have caused several hundreds of thousands of euros in damage.

In early May, German law enforcement authorities dismantled a presumed counterfeiting ring in Berlin. A total of around 85 officials were involved in seven raid actions targeting a gang of nine suspects. The suspects, seven men and two women, are said to have illegally imported counterfeit brand clothing and shoes from Turkey, together with additional accomplices, and distributed it through various channels.

Since at least February 2020, the 19- to 53-year-old suspects are thought to have been active, authorities said. For their illegal business, they allegedly imported counterfeit luxury goods from Turkey via mail and in travel luggage. They also did not pay customs duties or import VAT on the imported goods, according to official information. The gang then presumably resold the fake goods in Germany using several different sales channels. Estimates put the damage at over 250,000 euros.

The officials finally got on the counterfeiters’ trail some time ago during a baggage check at Berlin’s Schönefeld Airport. Subsequently, further evidence was secured in the seven raids in early May. The raids were timed in such a way that two of the suspects were intercepted directly at the airport with counterfeits in their luggage as they returned from Turkey. According to media reports, these were the suspected head of the gang and his partner.

The operation involved officers from the Berlin-Brandenburg Customs Investigation Office (Zollfahndungsamt) as well as officers from the Berlin State Police (Landespolizei), and the Potsdam Main Customs Office. The investigations are ongoing.

Sources: Zollfahndungsamt Berlin-Brandenburg, Tagesspiegel

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