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EC unveils euro counterfeiting figures for 2012

The European Commission (EC) has noted an increase in the number of fake euros confiscated, after compiling its counterfeiting figures for 2012.

Over the course of last year, 184,000 counterfeit coins - a 17 per cent year-on-year increase - and 531,000 fake banknotes were removed, reports iii.co.uk. In total, there are believed to be some 929 billion euros of genuine currency in circulation.

Algirdas Semeta, European Commissioner for Taxation and Customs Union, Audit and Anti-Fraud, said: "A currency shared by 17 countries and 330 million people is an attractive target for criminals. So we must make sure that crime doesn't pay."

"A more harmonised approach to sanctions and better cross-border cooperation will help us come down hard on currency counterfeiting," Semeta continued.

The value of the counterfeit coins collected was at least 290,000 euros (£250,000), with no figures provided for the bank notes. The most commonly forged coin was the two-euro piece - 80 per cent of the time it was this coin that was faked.

In its battle against counterfeiters, the EC recently proposed introducing a minimum six-month jail sentence in serious cases.

According to neurope.eu, counterfeiting has cost the EC around 500 million euros since 2002, which is why the organisation is stepping its efforts at prosecuting those involved in using fake cash.

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