NEWS » 90% of worldwide fake euros produced in Naples

90% of worldwide fake euros produced in Naples

Money makes the world go round! But what if it is fake?

Naples confirms its primacy in inventiveness also when it comes to crime. 90% of false Euros in worldwide circulation were produced in the Naples area. The Campania region is the hotbed of the Camorra mafia, which makes billions of pounds a year from drug trafficking, prostitution and the illegal dumping of toxic waste.

56 people were arrested by the Italian police for being involved in the production of fake bank notes with the aid of sophisticated printing equipment. Also produced in this area were fake lottery tickets, known as "scratches", and false stamps.

The counterfeiting network was well known to police forces throughout Europe as the “Napoli group”. The criminal organization developed its own codified language referring to money as “postcards”, “shoes”, and also “gnocchi”. Dollars were named “Americans” or “Embassies”.

The  criminals were charged with conspiracy, forgery of money, spending and introduction of counterfeit money.

The Napoli group includes 11 criminal gangs, each specializing in a part of the counterfeit operation. The creativity of the Neapolitans has been confirmed by the fact that the criminal group had enough imagination to produce a fake 300-euro banknote, a denomination that doesn't exist.

The most affected countries were: Albania, Algeria, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Morocco, Romania, Senegal, Spain and Tunisia. The counterfeit money has even been distributed in Africa.

In over two years of investigating, police said they seized about one million Euros in 5,500 counterfeit banknotes and coins. European central banks withdraw from circulation around 500,000 to 800,000 counterfeit bank notes each year, though many more go undetected.

The investigation which began two years ago uncovered a printing operation in the Naples suburb of Arzano, and a mint to produce counterfeit euro coins near Rome in Gallicano.

The “capital” of the Italian operation is the town of Giugliano, north of Naples, in the Campania region.

A link between the Napoli group and the powerful Camorra mafia that is based in the area has not been found.

The criminal association started producing fake Euros within days of the currency being introduced into Italy in 2002.

Giulia Lombardo

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