Network of fake euro banknote traffickers discovered by French police

10 people have been arrested for their part in selling at least €300,000 of counterfeit bills

22 May 2021
A woman inspects a €100 bill

The group reportedly used the fake notes in pharmacies, buying large amounts of hydroalcoholic gel Pic: PRESSLAB / Shutterstock

French police have arrested a group of 10 people for their suspected role in a fake euro banknote trafficking network in which they sold at least €300,000 of counterfeit bills.

The six men and four women were arrested in Marseille, Alençon, Rennes and Argenteuil, after more than two years of investigation.

The investigators stated that the group received their supply of counterfeit notes from the Camorra mafia clan based in Naples, Italy, France Bleu reported. 

The alleged head of the network in France is a 65-year-old man from Marseille. During police searches, nearly €200,000 in fake notes was discovered, mostly made up of €100 bills.

The group would use the fake notes to buy up large quantities of hydroalcoholic gel in pharmacies as pharmacies are rarely equipped with counterfeit money detectors. 

They also reportedly sold fake €20 notes for between €6 to €7 each, counterfeit €50 notes for between €16 to €20 each, and fake €100 bills for between €25 to €30 each.

The head of France’s central office for the repression of counterfeiting currency stated that  “a highly organised mafia-type network has been dismantled”. 

How to spot a fake banknote

The recommended way to test if a banknote is authentic is the “feel-look-tilt method”. You can also use special pens or devices that retailers often use.

The feel-look-tilt method is one you can apply easily at home. The banknote should feel crisp and firm. When you look at it against the light, the portrait window, the watermark and the security thread should become visible.

Finally, as you tilt the note, the image on the hologram and the colour-changing number on the back of the note should change. 

For a more detailed breakdown of the feel-look-tilt method you can check the European Central Bank’s website here

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