Bulgarian money counterfeiters busted by authorities

SOFIA, Bulgaria — Bulgarian authorities say they have successfully taken down an illegal counterfeit operation that was printing high quality bogus euro and U.S. dollar banknotes.

Deputy chief prosecutor Ivan Geshev said Monday that counterfeit bills worth 11.5 million euros and US$2 million were seized in the "biggest illegal workshop dismantled in the last 11 years."

The illegal printing press and bogus 500 euro, 100 euro and $50 banknotes were found in the basement of a hotel in the Black Sea resort Sunny Beach. Four people were taken into custody following in an operation Saturday.

At the beginning of this century, Bulgaria was among the biggest producers of fake U.S. banknotes along with Colombia, Chile and North Korea.

After joining the European Union in 2007, Bulgarian fraudsters turned to copying euros.

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