Viewing cable 04VILNIUS1403
Title: LITHUANIAN POLICE SEIZE NINE MILLION COUNTERFEIT

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
04VILNIUS14032004-11-15 05:22:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Vilnius
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS VILNIUS 001403 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR EUR/NB, DS/IP/EUR AND INL 
 
PARIS FOR USSS FIELD OFFICE 
 
E.O.12958: N/A 
TAGS: ASEC PREL EFIN LH
SUBJECT: LITHUANIAN POLICE SEIZE NINE MILLION COUNTERFEIT 
EUROS 
 
REF: 03 Vilnius 485 
 
¶1. Summary.  The Lithuanian Police achieved a major victory 
in the fight against counterfeiting November 6, arresting 
thirteen people and seizing over nine million counterfeit 
Euros.  The Police believe that the group has been printing 
Euros for several years.  The Police also found printing 
plates for U.S. currency, but believes that the group was 
only printing Euros.  The confiscated money earns Lithuania 
the dubious distinction of being one of the world's largest 
known exporters of counterfeit European currency.  The 
Mission is following up with Lithuanian authorities, 
including by seeking USSS access to the U.S. counterfeit 
plates.  End Summary. 
 
¶2. On November 6, 2004, the Lithuanian Police conducted 
more than 40 simultaneous searches in the cities of Kaunas, 
Telsiai, Palanga, and other cities that shut down a 
counterfeiting operation responsible for printing and 
distributing counterfeit Euros throughout Europe in huge 
quantities.  The majority of the arrests and seizure of 
counterfeit currency took place in a printing company in 
Kaunas.  Thirteen people were arrested and over nine 
million counterfeit Euro notes were seized.  The Court 
released two of those arrested and held the others for 
pretrial investigation.  All face criminal charges carrying 
penalties of three to ten years' imprisonment.  All the 
money found was in 100 Euro notes.  Several of the men 
arrested were in the process of printing more counterfeit 
Euros when the Police raided. 
 
¶3. The Police believe that the group has been printing 
Euros for several years, working seven days a week.  The 
Police do not know the total amount produced by these 
printing plants, but at the time of the raids, they seized 
over nine million Euros.  The Police also found printing 
plates for U.S. currency, but believe that the group was 
only printing Euros because they were more profitable then 
dollars.  Investigators said the Euro notes were of high 
quality and could not be distinguished from legitimate 
currency with the naked eye. 
 
¶4.  This is believed to be the largest single seizure of 
counterfeit Euros ever.  Lithuanian law enforcement 
agencies expect to uncover more counterfeiting groups in 
continued investigations.  The confiscated money makes 
Lithuania one of the world's largest known exporters of 
counterfeit European currency. 
 
¶5.  This seizure is the result of a two-year investigation. 
Lithuanian officials initiated their investigation in part 
because of the arrest of several Lithuanian citizens in 
other countries for possession and distribution of 
counterfeit Euros.  The Police believe that the 
counterfeiting group is connected with a Kaunas organized 
crime group.  Last January, the police detained a couple of 
people trying to smuggle 50,000 fake euros from Lithuania 
to Belarus.  The Police confirmed that these were 
counterfeit Euros from Kaunas. 
 
Comment 
------- 
 
¶6. This important seizure comes on the heels of U.S. Secret 
Service Counterfeit Detection/Financial Crimes training for 
48 Police officers on October 18-22, 2004.  This training 
was part of a Letter of Agreement between the United States 
and Lithuania, signed on September 30, 2003, to assist 
Lithuania in fighting counterfeiting.  The Letter of 
Agreement included the purchase of $50,000 of advanced 
surveillance equipment for the Police. 
 
¶7. Embassy Vilnius has assisted Lithuania in previous 
efforts to investigate counterfeit U.S. dollars.  Reftel 
reports Lithuania's success in a joint operation with the 
U.S. Secret Service.  A Lithuanian organized crime group 
was shipping counterfeit U.S. currency and drugs to the 
United States.  Lithuanian Police do not know yet if this 
2003 arrest is related to the recent arrests. 
 
¶8. Together with USSS Paris, the RSO is working with 
Lithuanian officials to learn more about this investigation 
to arrange an inspection of the U.S. counterfeit plates for 
the USSS. 
 
Mull