Fake cosmetics, shampoo and washing powder destined for the European market confiscated in Poland

20 December 2012
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With the support of Europol, an organised criminal group behind the production, storage and distribution of forged body cream, perfume, shampoo and washing powder has been dismantled by Polish police. The criminals were producing fake versions of internationally well-known brands.

On 7 December, 90 police officers searched 14 premises in Poland and arrested six members of the organised crime group behind the illegal factories, warehouses and the wholesale process. One of those arrested was a 44 year old man who was sentenced for forgery of a worldwide known cosmetic product back in 2003. The perpetrators have all been charged with being part of an organised crime group producing and distributing goods with counterfeited trademarks. The products were manufactured under primitive conditions and little attention was given to the creation of a hygienic environment.

The case was initiated after Europol received intelligence from a private company who had identified that one of its products was being counterfeited. It was concerned about the quality and potential health risks of consumers using these fake products, and consequently the reputation of its brand.

Among the various products found during the raid, local authorities seized more than 10 tonnes of counterfeit washing powder, 12 000 bottles and 60 000 labels of shampoos, 15 000 boxes of body creams and 8200 bottles of perfume. The Polish authorities have published that 90 000 boxes of counterfeit cream have been distributed to the UK market alone.

The low risks, in terms of penalty, and the high profits generated by this kind of activity are increasingly attracting organised crime groups. Individuals involved in this case were also known for drugs and cigarettes trafficking.

Europol has supported the investigation since May 2012 with analysis and specialist advice, plus a Europol specialist was present in Poland with Europol’s mobile office during the day of action earlier this week. The investigations are ongoing and more arrests are expected.