As several authorities have now released, law enforcement agencies from 21 countries cooperated against the trade in counterfeit and illegal toys from October 2021 to January 2022. In total, the authorities seized around five million counterfeit products worth around 18 million euros during the Ludus II operation. In addition, 99 individuals were reported to judicial authorities, and nearly 1,500 persons were reported to administrative or health authorities. The joint operation was coordinated by Europol; it also involved the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), and the World Customs Organization (WCO). It was led by Spanish law enforcement authorities, assisted by Romanian police.
A total of 17 EU member states and four further countries1 participated in Ludus II. Officials carried out checks to identify illegal shipments and warehouses. Additionally, some 72 online marketplaces were checked, and 30 websites were taken offline. Several seizures resulted from online investigations initiated on e-commerce platforms.
French customs, for example, dismantled an established supply chain for counterfeit toys sold through a well-known e-commerce platform; the counterfeits had been distributed not only on the French market but also in six other countries. And in Italy, officials from the Guardia di Finanza for instance seized a large quantity of illegal puzzles; the counterfeit games, which originated from Asia, had been stored in two warehouses.
Overall, authorities seized a range of different product types, including counterfeit and illegal puzzles, video games, board and card games, dolls, building blocks, clothing, and accessories. Some counterfeit products posed various potential hazards, including chemical exposure, choking hazards, possible electric shock, damage to hearing, and fire hazards. In addition to infringements of intellectual property rights, the authorities found missing CE markings and EU Declarations of Conformity, and in some cases the presence of undesirable dangerous substances. The majority of the counterfeits were imported from East Asia into the EU, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
In the first Operation Ludus the year before, officials had seized toys worth more than 16 million euros.