Latest raids yield counterfeits worth millions

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In several actions, officials have now removed fake goods worth millions of euros from circulation, including shampoo, textiles, cigarettes, and tools. And a Europol investigation broke up a complex syndicate counterfeiting wine. Our news in brief with five spectacular cases.

OLAF delivers million-euro strike against shampoo counterfeiters
The European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) has now facilitated the seizure of over 400 tons of counterfeit shampoo. The fake hair-care products had been dispatched from a Chinese factory shortly before it was raided by local authorities. OLAF specialists, who suspected that the fakes might be imported into the EU, tracked the counterfeits on their route – across several ships and through several ports in China, Korea, Mexico, and Colombia. With support of OLAF and Spanish customs, Colombian and Mexican officials finally seized the counterfeit shampoo. The value of the shipment, which would have been enough to fill several swimming pools, is estimated at around five million euros.

Europol action protects German wine market
With support from Europol and German authorities, Italian Carabinieri have now dismantled a complex wine counterfeiting network. The fraudsters had supposedly distributed at least 11,000 counterfeit bottles of wine as alleged high-quality IGT red wine from Florence, mainly in Belgium and Germany. As camouflage company they used a business of their own, which also sold sporting goods online. The authorities had already initiated an investigation in February 2017, when 4,500 counterfeit wine labels had been ordered from a printing company in Pistoia. The investigation finally revealed that counterfeit labels were also imported from China, while the counterfeit wine cartons had been made directly in Italy.

Customs stops delivery of counterfeit goods worth millions
Investigators from the customs office Suben-Autobahn have now intercepted a delivery of fake products from well-known fashion manufacturers, as the German main customs office in Landshut released in February. The counterfeits, which were declared as socks from Turkey, included T-shirts, shirts, and sweaters of high-priced brands. An examination by the trademark owners confirmed the suspicion of counterfeiting. The value of the confiscated counterfeits is estimated at approximately 1.2 million euros.

Northern Ireland: Paramilitaries trading in counterfeit busted
In late January, police investigators in Northern Ireland confiscated almost five million cigarettes and around 695 kg of tobacco in an action against loyalist paramilitaries. The seized products, which were a mixture of original and counterfeit goods, are estimated to be worth nearly two million pounds (around 2.3 million euros). The Paramilitary Crime Task Force of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) had previously searched five commercial premises, a retail premises and residential premises.

Tool counterfeits worth almost two million confiscated
In Italy, Guardia di Finanza investigators seized around 140,000 tool items in a warehouse, mainly including counterfeits of the Swiss brand Swiss Kraft. The fake products, which included drills, hammers, and aluminum cases, were found during a raid in mid-February in an industrial park in San Mauro Torinese near Turin. The value of the counterfeits is estimated at around 1.75 million euros. Previously, counterfeit tools had been noticed in a DIY store in Turin; the subsequent investigations finally led the investigators to the warehouse in San Mauro Torinese. The counterfeits were presumably produced in China, then shipped via Belgium to Europe, and delivered by truck to Turin.

Sources: OLAF; Europol; Hauptzollamt Landshut; Irish News;

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