Counterfeit products valued at €87m seized as Spanish Police help smash international criminal network

Image of counterfiet goods seized by National Police.

Image of counterfiet goods seized by National Police. Credit: Europol YouTube

In a joint operation with other European law enforcement agencies, Spain’s National Police has helped to smash a massive counterfeiting network. More than 370 individuals were arrested as a result.

Between March and December 2022, Europol coordinated the first EU-wide operation against the illegal trade in counterfeit apparel, footwear and accessories.

As reported in a statement released by Europol, Operation Fake Star, was led by the Spanish National Police in conjunction with the Greek Police with support from the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). It involved 17 countries in total.

Nearly two million counterfeit products were seized during 3,921 searches, specifically, 1 956 607 items. The market value of these fake products was estimated to be in the region of €87 million.

The main objective of this operation was the detection of counterfeit products throughout Europe that infringed the industrial property rights of renowned brands.

Focusing mainly on distribution and sales channels, the search for these products was directed mainly at industrial areas and estates, street markets, tourist areas, shops and warehouses, merchandise containers, and logistics companies.

The criminal gang made use of online stores to move the products

Investigators also discovered that part of the illicit business was carried out through online stores. These products were advertised through social media profiles as well as online stores and logistics companies.

Most of the confiscated items originated in countries such as China, Hong Kong, Turkey and Vietnam. They were transported by land or sea to their final destinations in the European Union.

Among the nearly two million counterfeit products seized, the majority were found to be sports and luxury products. A total of 258 brands were identified in the stash. A total of 378 people were brought to justice.

Financed by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), the operation was coordinated under the leadership of the National Police in Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Serbia, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.

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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at