PJ police have today announced further arrests in the Europe-wide money forging ring exposed earlier this year (click here).
Among those now deprived of their liberty are German and Greek nationals.
Explain reports, they were rounded up in swoops orchestrated by Europol in November and earlier this month. But they wouldn’t have happened were it not for Portugal’s PJ.
The force’s statement today explains that it collected enough evidence to “ identify various transactions in fake money” which counterparts in other countries were then able to follow up and act upon.
Europol launched hundreds of searches in Austria, Germany, France, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg and Spain, identifying and questioning 44 people of whom 11 ended up being arrested.
Among material seized were further false notes (to add to the stash apprehended earlier this year), guns, drugs, fake documents, Bitcoins and ‘doping substances’.
Back in September, the PJ declared the ‘brains’ behind this scheme to manufacture fake bank notes and sell them over the dark web was in fact Portuguese. A 35-year-old with a history of drug trafficking and ‘sexual extortion’.
Europol’s Deputy Executive Director of Operations, Wil van Gemert, said the joint effort highlightsthat complete anonymity on the internet and the Darknet “doesn’t exist”.
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“When you engage in illegal activity online, be prepared to have police knocking on your door sooner or later”, he added, stressing Europol “will continue to assist Member States in their efforts of protecting the euro against counterfeiting, both in the real world as in the virtual one.”