Counterfeit euro notes increase in Malta in H1 2019

(source: Pixabay/Bruno Glätsch)

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The number of counterfeit euro banknotes in Malta increased to 844 pieces in January-June 2019, compared to the aggregate in the previous six months July-December 2018 and to January-June 2018, according to a press statement published by the Central Bank of Malta (CBM). Nevertheless, overall seizures during 2017 and 2018 remained substantially below the amounts reported in the previous years.

The proportion of euro counterfeits remained “irrelevant”, the CBM says, when compared with the number of genuine euro banknotes in circulation in Malta, which was approximately above 12.16m for the first half of 2019. As compared to the proportion of the total number of counterfeits seized in the euro area as a whole over the same period, amounting to 251,000 pieces, forged notes in Malta only put up 0.33% of the ones in the eurozone.

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The €20 and €50 notes continue to be the most counterfeited denominations found locally, in line with developments in the euro area. These two denominations together accounted for 89% of all counterfeits during the first half of 2019, in Malta. Moreover, the share of the €10 denomination experienced a slight decrease during the same period. 

Upgraded €100 and €200 banknotes with increased security features and better endurance for wear and tear have recently come into circulation. The European Central Bank (ECB) talked to Business Malta about the reason behind revamping the banknotes and explained the production and distribution processes.

The Central Bank of Malta advises also the public to remain alert regarding banknotes received in cash transactions. In fact, genuine banknotes can be recognised using the “feel-look-tilt” test.

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EDITORIAL NOTE: The Central Bank of Malta operates the Counterfeit Surveillance Unit aimed at preventing the circulation of counterfeit money. It examines and stores counterfeit money of any currency seized in Malta or confiscated by the police. The Counterfeit Surveillance Unit may be contacted by telephone on 2550 6012 or 2550 6013, as well as by email.