A gang that produced at least 244 thousand euros-worth of fake 20 euro notes has been arrested by the National Police in the Almeria and Murcia regions. Ten people, eight of whom were in the Murcia area, were detained with experts saying that the notes were of high quality and were being “fed into” small shops. Authorities have managed to track down 200 thousand euro-worth of the fakes, as well as 44 thousand from the two homes that were raided, with authorities believing that more are in circulation. 26 thousand euros worth of notes were found in the Almeria home raid, and 18 thousand in Murcia. Besides the forgery investigation, the gang are also facing charges over drug trafficking as well as scamming insurance companies over staged car accidents. Five thousand euros in legal tender was recovered by the National Police along with a kilo of marijuana.

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The Bank of Spain in effect offered grumbling praise for the way that the forgeries were produced and the way they looked, though they can still be exposed as fakes. That can be done by feeling them, turning them round, and looking at things like the watermarks and the holograms, which change colour if you turn them around. The forgeries don’t do that and also don’t have the regular imprint of the vertical bar going down them. Juan Bañuelos of the Bank of Spain’s criminal analysis unit said he just could not be sure how many fakes were in circulation in the Murcia region and further afield.

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20 euro notes have not attracted the attention of fraudsters compared to the higher denomination notes, but Bañuelos added that a new even more secure 20 euro note will come into circulation this November. He also said that 80% of the falsified Euro notes in circulation on the continent are produced in Italy. The criminal investigation was jointly conducted by the National Police; the Murcia Police’s economic crime and money laundering department; and the Bank of Spain’s economic crime unit

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