2 million fakes seized on Italy's beaches

2011-08-20 07:21

Rome - Two million counterfeit items including fake luxury handbags, imitation designer sunglasses and snazzy swimwear were seized in June and July from Italy's beaches, financial police said on Friday.

"In June and July alone, two million counterfeit objects were seized on Italian beaches and in seaside towns," the police said in a statement, adding that 333 people had been charged in a crackdown on forgery.

"Counterfeiting is no longer limited to high-end clothing, but also stretches to toys or even cars," police officer Antonio Sassi said.

"In the last few years we've even seized a fake Ferrari," he said.

Police bagged more than 68 million false goods in Italy in the first seven months of 2011, and charged nearly 6 500 people - 200 of whom got prison sentences.

The economic development ministry estimates the total worth of fake goods seized in 2008 and 2009 exceeded $2.9bn.

Counterfeiting often goes hand in hand with other crimes such as tax evasion, exploitation of workers - including of illegal immigrants - and money laundering, the police statement said.