37 arrests in a hit on counterfeiters of high quality €500 fake banknotes in Spain

23 March 2021
News Article
Press Release/News
The criminal group used ATMs to introduce the counterfeits in the legal financial circuit

On 9 March 2021, Europol supported the Spanish authorities in dismantling an organised crime group involved in the distribution of high quality counterfeit euro banknotes, fraud and money laundering. Law enforcement authorities from Germany and Sweden also assisted the investigation. 

The action day led to:

  • 16 house searches in Alicante and Seville 
  • 37 persons arrested (mainly Colombian and Spanish nationals)
  • Seizures include €202 000 worth in counterfeit €500 banknotes, €12 000 worth in bitcoins, anabolics and weapons and €32 000 in cash.

Europol supported the Spanish authorities in this case from the onset. The investigation was triggered in October 2019 by the detection of counterfeit banknotes in several cities in the Spanish province of Grenada. The suspects were using money mules to introduce the false currency into the legal circuit through the ATMs of a number of Spanish banks. 

Europol facilitated the information exchange, operational coordination and provided analytical support. During the action day, Europol supported with technical expertise and cross-checked operational information against Europol’s databases and the systems of the European Central Bank. 


Headquartered in The Hague, the Netherlands, Europol supports the 27 EU Member States in their fight against terrorism, cybercrime, and other serious and organized crime forms. Europol also works with many non-EU partner states and international organisations. From its various threat assessments to its intelligence-gathering and operational activities, Europol has the tools and resources it needs to do its part in making Europe safer.