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Operation Green Heart targets online currency counterfeit buyers

GeneralEdward KiledjianComment
Image courtesy of Europol

Image courtesy of Europol

A massive Europe wide operation took place between November 19 until December 6th, arresting 235 suspects in 13 countries. The operation confiscated 1,500 Euro banknotes, drugs, weapons, computers, phones, bitcoin, etc.

This operation was made possible after a 33-year old counterfeiter was arrested in June 2018 by Austrian police in the city of Leoben. The counterfeiter was producing 10,20 & 50 Euro banknotes and it is believed he had successfully offloaded over 10,000 (worth ~ $500,000 EUR) notes before being arrested. The counterfeit notes were sent out using regular mail, so as not to arouse suspicion.

The counterfeiter is believed to have designed the notes on his own computer. He printed them himself and made them look authentic using (suspected) Chinese made holograms. Depending on the quality of the prints, the price varied from 15-40% of the notes face value.

Aldia.cat also reports that data from an FBI/Europol raid on another Darknet seller specializing in weapons, drugs and fake money also contributed valuable information to Operation Green Heart.

The operation involved raids on 300 dwellings across Europe: 178 in Germany, 28 in France, 20 in Austria and others in Spain (Madrid, Velncia, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Barcelona, Sevilla, Granada, etc) , Croatia, Cyprus, Finland, Ireland and the Netherlands.

One of the suspects arrested in Munich still had 14 counterfeit notes with him.

The moral of the story is that good policing can cut through the anonymity of TOR, so criminals beware.

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