By Lizzy Ioannidou
The Larnaca district court issued a four-day detention order on Thursday against two siblings aged 23 and 28 from Larnaca in order to facilitate police investigations regarding a counterfeit currency ring.
A notice was received via Europol on July 24, according to which the Austrian police authorities conducted a criminal investigation into the circulation of counterfeit euro notes, which began in January 2018 and involved the manufacture of counterfeit euro notes and their sale by use of pseudonyms on an internet website.
Counterfeit notes were reportedly sent to the recipients in ordinary Austrian Post envelopes or as a parcel of a specific courier service. The particular web page used for the sale of the notes is an anonymous website used for criminal activities in which users have access to hidden services, police said.
The head of the operation was arrested in Austria on June 26. Police investigations found handwritten lists, parcel receipts, and a book containing parcel tracking codes and pseudonyms, including the information regarding the purchase of counterfeit notes by the 23-year-old from Larnaca.
It was found that on June 1, the 23-year-old ordered and bought 25 counterfeit €10 notes and 15 counterfeit €50 euro notes. The parcel was retrieved from the Larnaca central post office on June 19 by the 28-year-old.
The siblings were later arrested. Following investigations at the suspects’ house and their vehicles, eight €50 and nine €10 banknotes were found, after which the 28-year-old allegedly confessed that he was the owner of the counterfeit notes. Three laptops and a tablet were also seized.
The 23-year-old denies any involvement in the case, while the 28-year-old has made a voluntary statement stating that he bought the banknotes after he watched a university lecture on a specific web page.
Investigations are still ongoing with statements from the family environment of the suspects, while examinations will be held to determine how the parcel was paid for and to locate the remaining counterfeit notes.