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Bulgarian Police Smash 'Impressive' Counterfeiting Ring

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Prosecutor-General Ivan Geshev commented that the "impressive" sum might be one of the largest seizures of counterfeit money ever made in the country.

Bulgarian police have busted a counterfeiting operation at a university in the capital, Sofia.

In a joint operation with the U.S. Secret Service, Bulgarian police seized $4 million and 3.6 million euros ($4.3 million) worth of fake banknotes, authorities said on March 16.

A 48-year-old man employed at the university printworks and a 54-year-old woman were detained.

“The value of the seized currency is impressive. The material evidence speaks of serious criminal activity,” Sofia police chief Georgi Hadzhiev said.

Lubomir Yanev, the head of the Interior Ministry's unit for combating organized crime, said the two had expertise in printing and the quality of the notes was "relatively good.”

Police believe that the printing operation was part of a wider criminal enterprise trafficking counterfeit dollars to Ukraine and euros to Western Europe.

Prosecutor-General Ivan Geshev commented that the "impressive" sum might be one of the largest seizures of counterfeit money ever made in the country.

There is no indication the unnamed university was aware of the counterfeiting, which occurred after hours and on the weekends.

The U.S. Secret Service, whose responsibilities include investigating counterfeiting operations and other financial crimes, participated in the joint operation with Bulgarian law enforcement. The Secret Service did not respond to an e-mail from RFE/RL requesting comment.

With reporting by AFP, AP, and Reuters
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