Trafficking of counterfeit banknotes on the dark web between Italy and abroad, eight suspects

NoonJanuary 13, 2023 – 09:44

Carabinieri operation. Searches all over Europe, money shipped in toys

Of Online editorial staff

Counterfeit banknotes sent inside toys, trafficking on the dark web, whirlwind business between different countries: a complex operation, started in 2018, which ended today, Friday, with the notification of a precautionary order to eight people,, all seriously suspected of conspiracy for the purpose of trafficking in counterfeit currency. In particular, one is in prison, five under house arrest, two are prohibited from staying in the province of Naples.

Investigations lasted four years

The complex investigative activity, launched in July 2018 as part of a targeted investigative strategy to contrast the Napoli Group, has focused the main distribution collectors also active through cryptocurrencies. The investigations, coordinated by the Public Prosecutor of Naples, made it possible to ascertain a distribution network with terminals in Italy (provinces of Gorizia, Florence, Catania, Salerno) and abroad (Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Great Britain, Indonesia, Ireland, Latvia, Holland, Poland, Portugal, Czech Republic, Romania, Spain and Ukraine).

A clandestine network

The international extension of the investigations has seen the involvement of numerous European States with the collaboration of the Austrian authorities and the financing and support of Europol for the connection with the foreign police forces concerned. The investigations, delegated to the Carabinieri Anti-counterfeiting command, made it possible to outline the distribution dynamics of the counterfeit currency: through complex telematic anonymization processes, payments in cryptocurrencies were managed and the consequent deliveries made by shippers who sent parcels and postal parcels. The counterfeit banknotes were hidden inside various materials (toys, wooden artifacts).

The printing house of Arzano

During the operation, 41 postal packages were seized upon delivery in Italy and various foreign countries; counterfeit banknotes of various denominations (20, 50 and 100 euros), for a total of 120,000 euros as well as numerous tools used for dark net transactions and cryptocurrency transfers. 31 people who had bought counterfeit banknotes on the dark web were arrested in the act; finally, a clandestine digital printing house in Arzano for the production of counterfeit banknotes, equipped with high-performance equipment (printers and computers), whose managers were already arrested in 2021, was dismantled.

A flurry of searches

At the same time as the execution of the precautionary measures, the carabinieri carried out numerous searches in the provinces of Udine, Rovigo, Genoa, Florence, Rome, Naples, Reggio Calabria, Barletta-Andria-Trani and Catania. Furthermore, for terminals located abroad, the police forces of Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Holland, Poland, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Spain and Lithuania were involved in the context of international police cooperation .

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January 13, 2023 | 09:44


Trafficking of counterfeit banknotes on the dark web between Italy and abroad, eight suspects