MOSCOW, December 18 (RIA Novosti) – Police have uncovered Russia’s largest counterfeit currency network responsible for producing over 40 million rubles ($1.3 million) of fake banknotes, including euros, each month, the Interior Ministry reported on Tuesday.
“This is the first time the police have uncovered the production of fake euros in Russia. The sale of counterfeit banknotes was identified in virtually all Russia's federal districts, and also in the Republic of Belarus, and in Ukraine,” the ministry said in a statement.
“According to available data, some of these banknotes went to finance extremist organizations in the North Caucasus,” the statement said.
The police identified criminal activity in October 2011, and opened a criminal case after investigating the counterfeiters.
The first stage of the police operation lasted from July to December this year in the North Caucasus Republic of Dagestan, where five gang members were caught red-handed as they attempted to sell over 3.5 million rubles ($115,000) in false banknotes.
During the operation, the police seized printing equipment, blank banknotes, and counterfeit money worth $20,000 and 500,000 rubles ($16,000), as well as firearms.
“The second stage took place in the Moscow Region, when, during a ‘test purchase’ of 100 fake banknotes worth 5,000 rubles, one person from Armenia and one from Dagestan were detained.”
“According to the Interior Ministry’s information, a batch of counterfeit money was brought from Dagestan to be distributed in various Russian regions.”