THE HAGUE, Sept. 9 (Xinhua) -- The Portuguese Judicial Police has dismantled Europe's second largest counterfeit currency network on the so-called dark web -- a collection of websites that exist on an encrypted network, the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) announced here on Monday.
Europol, headquartered in The Hague, stated that five individuals have been arrested and are accused of counterfeiting and organized crime. In several countries, counterfeit banknotes worth over 1.3 million euros (1.43 million U.S. dollars) were seized, mostly in France, Germany, Spain and Portugal.
The center of the network was based in Portugal. Following the investigation, eight domestic and non-domestic searches were carried out in the southern European country. Several objects related to the production were also seized, such as computers, printers, security paper with security thread, holograms and self-adhesive holographic bands, ultraviolet inks and ink cartridges.
As the EU's central office for combating euro counterfeiting, Europol supported the operation with the expertise of counterfeit and dark web experts.
In the EU, Europol works closely with the European Central Bank (ECB) and member state law enforcement authorities in all major euro counterfeiting investigations.