Police in Spain have smashed an illegal set-up which is thought to have netted over 6 million Euros in unlawfully tendered fake notes of 20 and 50 euro denominations. The network brought in 50,000 Euros in counterfeit notes into the Spain every month.
The high quality fakes came into Cataluña from Italy and were distributed throughout Spain. According to a report their final destination into Spanish banks exposed the notes as fake and of high-quality. Once the money reached the final destination into Spanish banks they were deemed as counterfeit, which further enabled the Police to instigate a two-phase operation which resulted in 21 arrests.
Three network leaders and a courier have been detained with more than 66,000 Euros seized; culminating in the seizure of 113,000 Euros throughout the entire operation. Some of the forged money was used to buy more than 16,000 € worth of jamones in Guijelo, (prized ham from the Iberian pigs, traditionally fed on acorns for their flavour) in Salamanca province, and five people resident in Sabadell, Barcelona province, were arrested in connection with the purchase.
30 kilos of cannabis resin was also found in one of the property searches carried out by police.
This latest incident follows a high-profile case whereby the captain of Linfield football club, a northern Irish semi-professional footballer, known as William 'Winkie' Murphy, was charged with introducing counterfeit bank notes into Spain but was later released and returned to Northern Ireland.
The player was arrested earlier in May 2009, while visiting Torremolinos on a stag party with fellow team mates. The arrest related to an incident in Spain in 2007 when he was detained after allegedly passing counterfeit money; an offence which carries a minimum jail term of eight years. His case is now not expected to be heard until September or October.
Police say that, since the introduction of the European currency was first adopted in Spain, they have seized more than 6 million € in fake notes.