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Herzlich willkommen im Fake-Blog von C. Müller-Straten

Handtasche der Fa. Braccialini, die das Fälschen von Markenartikeln thematisiert.
Foto frdl. zur Verfügung gestellt von der Fa. Koffer-Kopf, Augsburg

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Verlag Dr. Christian Müller-Straten
Dr. Christian Müller-Straten
Kunzweg 23
D-81243 München
Tel. 089-839 690 43
Fax 089-839 690 44
EU-Identnummer: DE 130227908
ISBN-Verlagsnummer: 3-9327-04-...
Gewerbeschein v. 2.5.1995


No safe market for fakes: 21 countries target illegal goods in Europe-wide sting

Nearly 28 million counterfeit and illegal goods were seized

Europe-wide operation Aphrodite has brought together 21 countries* to target counterfeit goods trafficking. The eight-month operation was co-led by the Italian Finance Corps (Guardia di Finanza) and the Irish National Police (An Garda Síochána) with support from Europol. From December 2019 to July 2020, law enforcement authorities tracked online sales of a large variety of counterfeit items, culminating in checks in warehouses, shops and marketplaces in Belgium, Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Romania and Spain. 

Law enforcement find fake COVID-19 medical equipment among the seizures

The operation led to 123 social media accounts and 36 websites selling counterfeit products to be taken down. During the operation, law enforcement authorities seized nearly 28 million illegal and counterfeit goods among which were 800 000 counterfeit items of clothing, sportswear, footwear, personal accessories, IPTV set-top boxes and toys. Ten people were arrested in Greece and 37 others were reported to the judicial authorities in Greece, Italy and Portugal. More than €700 000 was also seized. 

The COVID-19 outbreak led the involved authorities to adapt the initial scope of the operation to focus on issues triggered by the pandemic. As a result, counterfeit and not compliant medical equipment was also seized, including 27 million medical facemasks, by the Italian Finance Corps (Guarda di Finanza).

Fake goods hidden behind online deals 

Digital platforms, such as websites, social media and instant messaging services are abused by criminal groups to sell often harmful counterfeit products. Illegal vendors advertise counterfeit goods with pictures and prices of fake products on social media. They also use hidden links in posts on social media to redirect users to marketplaces located outside of the EU. Offers for counterfeit goods also grew on e-commerce platforms and subsequently, their share of the market increased. 

Criminals invite unsuspecting buyers to pay with prepaid cards, by wire transfer or other forms of electronic payment and web-based services as the goods are delivered through legal couriers. The COVID-19 pandemic intensified the sale of counterfeit goods on the physical market too.  

Europol’s Intellectual Property Crime Coordinated Coalition (IPC3) coordinated the operation and collected the results and detected existing links between the individuals involved.  Europol’s IPC3 facilitated the information exchange and provided technical and analytical support to the participating countries. 

Europol’s IPC3 is co-funded by EUIPO (European Union Intellectual Property Office) to combat intellectual property crime. 

Participating countries:

*Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, France, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Malta, Moldova, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Ukraine, United Kingdom

Source: Europol

€7.9 million of illegal products seized in hits against medicine traffickers (MISMED)

Europol supported a pan-European operation targeting the illicit online and offline trafficking of misused and counterfeit medicines. The operation, led by the French National Gendarmerie (Central Office against Environmental and Public Health Crime - OCLAESP) and the Finnish Customs (Tulli), involved law enforcement authorities from 11* EU Member States, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States. The operation was also supported by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), Eurojust and the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF).  The operation was carried out between July and October 2019.

The operation in numbers

  •     12 organised criminal groups disrupted;
  •     165 suspects arrested in Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom;
  •     Nearly €1.5 million of assets recovered;
  •     Around €7.9 million seized;
  •     Nearly 36 million units of medicines seized (among which pseudoephedrine, anti-cancer drugs, antihistamines, anxiolytics, erectile dysfunction medicines, hormone and metabolic regulators, narcotics, painkillers, antioestrogens, antivirals, hypnotics, and doping substances).

 Worrying trends of medicine trafficking continue

  •     Growing trafficking in the EU of oncologic medicines stolen from hospitals
  •     Asia remains the main source region for both medicines and doping products
  •     Medicines are diverted from the legal supply chain by wholesalers and resold to criminal groups
  •     Medicines are illegally obtained with forged or stolen medical prescriptions, with or without the help of doctors and pharmacists, and then resold to criminal groups or individuals directly
  •     Doping products are mainly sold online
  •     Counterfeited medicines and doping substances are illegally made and packed in underground laboratories often in the EU

Over three years, Mismed allowed for:

  •     the seizure of 123 million units of illegal medicines and doping substances worth €0.5 billion;
  •     600 arrests;
  •     49 organised crime groups dismantled.  (EUROPOL, 6.3.2020)

* Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain.

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Verlag Dr. Christian Müller-Straten 
Verlagsleiter: Dr. Christian Müller-Straten

Kunzweg 23, D-81243 München 
Tel. 089-839 690 43, Fax 089-839 690 44,
EU-Identnummer: DE 130227908
ISBN-Verlagsnummer: 3-9327-04-...
Gewerbeschein v. 2.5.1995

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