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NEW REPORT FINDS ORGANISED CRIME NOT ‘HARMLESS DEL BOYS’ ARE BEHIND UK FAKES

19 June 2003

Triad gangs, the Russian mafia and Northern Irish paramilitaries are among the organised criminals behind some of the worst cases of the UK’s £10 billion illegal trade in fake goods, from CDs and videos, to designer products and harmful spirits.

A new report, Proving the Connection, published today on World Anti-Counterfeiting Day, outlines over a dozen cases which, taken together, demonstrate the link between intellectual property theft and organised crime. Among the cases documented are:

· A Russian mafia operation, using music piracy to fund credit card fraud, and using the same network to sell both weapons and pornography;

· An Asian criminal gang, using Afghan refugees to sell record numbers of pirate CDs in the run up to Christmas last year;

· Evidence from the Northern Ireland Police of an attempted car bombing of an anti-counterfeiting police patrol;

· A £2.6 million counterfeiting fraud, combining fake perfumes (such as Chanel, Christian Dior and Calvin Klein), spirits, clothing and CDs; and

· A £1 million Internet scam involving thousands of fake DVDs, games and business software manufactured in SE Asia for sale across the global via a complex network of websites, drop mail addresses and covert online payment systems.

The report draws on the experiences of investigators for a wide range of industry organisations with a combined annual turnover of over £200 billion.

Lavinia Carey, Chair of the cross-industry Alliance Against Counterfeiting and Piracy, said:

“Too many people are duped into paying out over the Internet or across a market stall for fake goods in the mistaken belief that counterfeiting is a victimless crime.

“They will be horrified by the evidence in this report which shows that counterfeiting is the work of hardened criminals, often with links to terrorism, and engaged in global counterfeiting operations worth millions of pounds, ready to do anything to protect their interests.

The report is formally launched by Lavinia Carey at the Alliance Against Counterfeiting and Piracy’s annual general meeting at 11am on Thursday 19th June at Luther Pendragon, Priory Court, Pilgrim Street, London EC4V 6DR.

For information about joining the Alliance please contact
Susie Winter at susie@allianceagainstiptheft.co.uk
or on 020 7534 0595