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Biggest-ever national counterfeit cash racket busted
19 February 2016 @ 11:32

SPAIN'S largest counterfeit banknote factory has been raided and a countrywide racket broken up in the province of Toledo, just south of Madrid.

Two men have been arrested after a villa in the town of Bargas was searched, with every room set up as a different part of the production line – one for printing, one for cutting and copying the hologram, and one for drying the printed notes.

They had enough equipment to allow them to print up to €2 million in €50 notes, and €195,000 were confiscated during the police raid.

Technical similarities between this and another forgery factory in the same area, uncovered a year ago, led to a full police inquiry, and a printing firm – whose owner has now absconded – was found to have been helping out in exchange for commission.

Forged notes produced by the criminal organisation have been found in several provinces, making this the largest-ever counterfeit money production operation in Spain's history.

They mainly targeted ONCE sellers – lottery-ticket vendors in aid of the national blind association who, as a prerequisite for the job, must be disabled.

The suspects bought lottery tickets with fake €50 notes, typically for €1 each, and then kept the change.

Police say they were originally based in the Toledo-province town of Talavera de la Reina – famous for its 'adopted daughter', actress Gwynneth Paltrow, who learnt her now-fluent Spanish during the first of many stays there – but they later moved to a villa in a remote country area.


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