Europol gives small hard blow to counterfeiters

According to Europol, the European Union (EU)’s law enforcement agency, Spanish National Police and tax authorities have seized 265,000 products infringing intellectual property (IP) rights – textiles, footwear, watches, sunglasses, leather goods, jewellery etc… worth a total of EUR 8 million. 71 individuals were arrested who were also engaged in money laundering activity thought to have exceeded EUR 9 million using 150 different bank accounts.

“Operation Pinar” launched in 2013 has been so far the “largest law enforcement operation against IP crime and money laundering in Spain,” with over 400 agents having participated according to Europol’s official communiqué. In April 2016, global trade in fake goods was worth nearly half a trillion dollars a year meaning 2.8% of world trade according to an OECD report.

Indeed, for instance, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had dismantled in 2014 a massive international counterfeit goods smuggling network in which criminals attempted to flood the US market with bogus products from China that would have been worth USD 300 million on the retail market.