15 detained, thousands in fake currency seized in police raids

May 01, 2010, Saturday/ 16:42:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN
Fifteen people were detained this week in simultaneous police raids in five provinces against a currency counterfeiting ring, news agencies reported on Friday.According to reports, officers from the Ankara Police Department’s Anti-smuggling and Organized Crime Bureau discovered that counterfeiters at a number of sites outside Ankara were producing fake currency and selling it at 75 to 80 percent of its face value.

The investigation, called “Stepne” (Spare Tire) because the money was hidden in spare tires, was initiated five months ago with authorization from the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office. Raids were carried out this week in İstanbul, İzmir, Van, Kastamonu and Ankara.

Police seized TL 80,000 in counterfeit TL 50 banknotes and 55,500 euros worth of fake 500 euro notes in addition to two guns. An electronic currency printing machine was also seized in İstanbul’s Zeytinburnu district.

The suspects revealed that the fake currency had been distributed in 39 provinces nationwide. In previous operation against the same counterfeiting organization, police had seized TL 41,670, 3,700 euros and $900 in fake currency.

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