Piracy boutiques, fake medications and illegal imports

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News in brief: In Frankfurt, authorities investigate businesses in prime locations. Spain raids factories for counterfeit medicines. German investigators stop illegal online shops and a truck full of counterfeit goods. And French customs officials land a double blow against piracy.

Nobel boutiques under suspicion of counterfeiting
In Frankfurt am Main, police and public prosecutors are investigating the operator of three boutiques. Situated in prime locations in Frankfurt’s city center and near the Frankfurt airport, the shops are said to have sold fake luxury goods. According to the authorities, large quantities of branded goods were already confiscated in 2016 and have since been identified as counterfeit. In May of this year, the investigators secured another 100 boxes of alleged fakes. The accused is said to have sold high-priced fake handbags, clothing and shoes. The alleged outlet items were offered only slightly below the original price, so that buyers would not become suspicious. The police are now asking potential victims to come forward.

Spanish authorities raid underground drug factories
With the support of Europol’s IP Protection Unit IPC3, officials from the Spanish Policía Nacional raided three hidden laboratories producing illicit drugs. In addition to thousands of boxes of illegal medicines, the authorities also seized large amounts of drugs, including Ecstasy (MDMA), LSD and Crystal. The illegal drugs were sold in the greater Madrid area as well as internationally via the Netherlands. In total, the authorities searched 15 properties in Madrid, Valencia and Malaga and arrested 29 people.

Baden-Wuerttemberg: Illegal online pharmacies exposed
The public prosecutor’s office in Tübingen and customs investigators from Stuttgart ended the illegal business of two online pharmacies that had sold illicit medications, in particular counterfeit potency pills, to around one and a half thousand customers in Germany. A man from Moldova ran the piracy shipments together with two accomplices and his parents from the Karlsruhe area. The parents’ home had served as a temporary storage for the fake pharmaceuticals. At the end of May, investigators seized more than 4,000 pills and numerous documents in a total of five raids in the greater Karlsruhe area.

Customs officials stop truck full of counterfeits
During a highway inspection executed by Dresden’s main customs office, counterfeits worth about 360,000 euro were removed from circulation. On the A4 near the city of Görlitz, the investigators inspected a van from Poland, allegedly on route to Munich. During the inspection, about 160 belts, 280 pairs of shoes, 370 t-shirts and just under 80 handbags were seized due to presumed brand piracy.

French customs celebrate successes against counterfeit personal care items
French customs investigators repeatedly moved against illegal hygiene products: in June 2018, at the port of the island of Réunion, officers confiscated over 100,000 counterfeit toothbrushes that violated the industrial property rights of Colgate-Palmolive. The plagarized goods seized by officals contained potentially dangerous amounts of bisphenol and will be destroyed. Previously, customs officials in Marseille and Montpellier had seized over 16,000 counterfeit hairbrushes worth over 240,000 euro. Officers confiscated the products during an inspection of a container from China in March 2018 and during raids of local companies in May 2018.

Sources: Frankfurter Rundschau, Hessenschau; Europol; Zollfahndungsamt Stuttgart; Hauptzollamt Dresden; Direction générale des douanes et droits indirects, Ministre de l’action et des comptes publics

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