Croatia adopted the European single currency, the euro, at the start of 2023. Since then, more than 290 counterfeit euros banknotes have been uncovered in the country.
According to the Croatian National Bank (HNB), the most common counterfeit denominations include 50 euro bills. A total of 200 pieces of these banknotes were uncovered.
This means that, in less than two months, more forged counterfeit euros were discovered than in the whole of 2022.
In 2022, only 260 fake euro banknotes were seized by authorities. In 2021, 228 were uncovered.
The increase in counterfeit currency has been met with special caution by restaurateurs, who must be careful when accepting euro banknotes especially those of a large value.
At the border crossing between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, a 60-year-old man was recently discovered with 800 counterfeit ten-euro banknotes that he was attempting to smuggle into Croatia.
The man arrived at the Svilaja border crossing in a German-registered vehicle on 19 February. There, police and customs officials inspected his vehicle.
“Before that, we had one or two cases of ten-euro bills that the perpetrator used to pay for a service, but we never had a case like this. During a joint inspection, police officers and customs officers found the banknotes in the car,” said the Brod-Posavina Police Department.
The driver, a Serbian citizen, was detained for one month. He was taken to prison in Pozega on 20 February.
Upon discovery of a suspicious banknote, police send the item to Croatia’s National Bank for technical analysis. If the result of the analysis shows that the seized money has been counterfeited, it is stored at the Directorate of National Centres for Combating Counterfeiting.
Counterfeit money in Croatia is considered evidence, and can only be destroyed by court order.
Under Croatian law, individuals arrested for handling counterfeit banknotes face a prison sentence of up to ten years. Those who receive counterfeit money and unknowingly pass it on to another person face up to three years in prison.
In 2019, Spanish police raided a printing press in Southwestern Spain, curbing the circulation of more than 250,000 euros in counterfeit bills. Six people were arrested as part of the operation, and two guns, three printers, three computers, metallic material used to mimic the hologram of real bills, ink cartridges, cutting instruments and other tools were seized.
If a genuine euro is tilted against the light, a silvery stripe should show a portrait of Europe inside a transparent window. An emerald number will also show light moving up and down.
Image via Pixabay