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Progress on euro anti-counterfeiting proposals

A key European Parliament committee this week backed a European Commission proposal aimed at better protecting the euro from counterfeiting through the use of criminal law measures. The euro is one of the three most-used currencies worldwide.

The proposal aims to crack down on the counterfeiting of euro notes and coins – which is estimated to have cost at least €500 million over the past decade. New measures would include strengthening cross-border investigations and introducing minimum rules on penalties, including imprisonment, for the most serious counterfeiting offences.

The draft law would also enable the analysis of seized forgeries during judicial proceedings in order to detect further counterfeit euros in circulation.

The proposals take the form of a draft Directive, which will oblige Member States to make effective investigative tools available for detecting currency counterfeiting cases, equivalent to those used to combat organised or other serious crime. It will also introduce a maximum penalty of at least eight years for the offence of distribution of counterfeit currency, bringing it into line with the maximum penalty currently in place for the offence of production of counterfeit currency.

The recent vote by the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs means that the European Parliament can now enter into negotiations with the Council of Ministers – so-called trilogue negotiations - in order to find a political agreement on the proposals. This agreement will then need to be approved by the European Parliament Plenary and by Ministers in the Council.

"We will continue working closely with the European Parliament and Ministers in the Council to build on today's important vote and get the law adopted swiftly so we can close regulatory loopholes and put a stop to currency counterfeiting across the European Union," commented Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU’s Justice Commissioner.

Contact Jonathan Fisher QC

For specialist advice on issues of corporate, regulatory or financial crime, contact Jonathan Fisher QC on +44 (0)20 7427 463 or click here to make an electronic enquiry.

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