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Last Updated: Monday, 10 November, 2003, 16:18 GMT
Euro forgeries soar
By Shirin Wheeler
BBC Europe correspondent

Euros
The euro: Harder to counterfeit than other currencies

Europe's police forces need more support in trying to tackle the growing problem of euro counterfeiting, according to the head of the European Union's criminal investigation bureau.

Europol Director Juergen Storbeck believes officers on the front line in poorer countries in Eastern and Central Europe are struggling keep pace with the counterfeiters.

He wants EU governments to agree to more training, technical assistance as well as hard cash to back up local investigations in countries like Bulgaria.

In recent months, police across the EU has seen a dramatic rise in forgeries of euro banknotes.

Be aware

Some critics say the criminals are taking advantage of a general unfamiliarity with the new currency and people themselves need to become more vigilant.

That means being more aware of security features like watermarks, holograms and raised printing which can be difficult to forge.

Europol insists euro forgeries are still not as big a problem as was the counterfeiting of national currencies before the Euro was introduced nearly two years ago.

It says that the euro is harder to counterfeit than any other currency.

Smuggled notes

Based in the Dutch city of The Hague, Europol has been asked by European Union governments to fight the forgers.

Detectives seconded from national police forces in the EU work together, sharing data about raids and criminals to crack increasingly sophisticated networks.

These joint investigations are bearing fruit with the recovery of thousands of euros of forged notes from so-called print shops this year.

The biggest hauls of fakes have come from South-East Europe and the Baltic states.


SEE ALSO:
Catching the euro forgers
06 Nov 03  |  Europe
Teenagers 'print' euro notes
21 Feb 03  |  Europe
Poles bust euro counterfeiters
12 Feb 03  |  Europe
Call for counterfeit clampdown
12 Dec 02  |  Northern Ireland
Shoppers and forgers move to euro
15 Jan 02  |  Business
Euro notes seek forgery protection
20 Dec 01  |  Business


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