VIENNA, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) -- Austrian authorities on Friday said they had arrested an internationally active money counterfeiter earlier in the year, which led to numerous investigations across Europe into buyers of the counterfeit cash.
The Federal Criminal Police Office (BK) said in a press release that the suspect, a 33-year-old from the city of Leoben, began distributing counterfeit cash via the "darknet" at the beginning of 2017. Darknet refers to portions of the internet purposefully not open to public view.
In October last year, the investigators found that a person from within Austria had been active on various illegal platforms selling counterfeit cash, and subsequently conducted investigations that took several months, leading to the eventual discovery of the suspect and his workshop.
He had been sending fake 10, 20, and 50 euro notes to buyers across Europe through various parcel services.
He was arrested in June, and along with his equipment, about 83,000 euros (95,000 U.S. dollars) worth of counterfeit notes were also seized. He is accused of having marketed at least 500,000 euros worth of fake bills in total.
Authorities then took to the trail of the buyers, with the Europol coordinating the effort. Several hundred addresses were identified, and numerous house searches conducted between Dece. 3 and 6.
Twenty such searches were conducted in Austria alone, with counterfeit bills, drugs, weapons, and computer equipment seized by the authorities. A closer examination of the latter is expected to lead authorities to more success in their efforts, the BK said.