Europol, Garda discover large underground currency counterfeiting laboratory

In a joint operation, Europol and the Garda Police have arrested four men as part of a major investigation into one of the most sophisticated money counterfeiting set-ups uncovered in Europe to date.

At the site near Borris–in–Ossory in the Irish midlands, criminals had established an underground illicit print shop facility contained in two 40–foot containers serviced with electricity, heating and running water. A large amount of security printing paper, inks and holograms were seized, as well as other materials used in the counterfeit printing process, including three industrial printers.

The operation, led by the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation and supported by the Emergency Response Unit, other national support units and local Garda from Abbeyleix, was initiated following analysis of increased activity in counterfeiting across Europe. Yesterday’s arrests were the culmination of an extensive operation that has been ongoing for a number of months and has involved information sharing across a number of international law enforcement agencies including Europol.

The four men in custody are aged in their 40s and 50s. Preliminary estimates indicate that their set–up had the potential to produce around 200 million counterfeit euros.

The site has been sealed off and Europol experts on–the–spot are carrying out a detailed technical examination together with a forensic investigation team from the Garda Technical Bureau.

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