Bulgaria busts cash forging operation at university

Bulgarian authorities busted a university printworks in capital Sofia that was making fake euro and dollar bills worth millions, police and prosecutors announced Tuesday.

Fake banknotes worth a total of 3.6 million euros ($4.3 million) and $4.0 million in dollar bills were seized in the operation conducted in cooperation with the US Secret service, the chief of Bulgaria’s anti-organised crime directorate Lyubomir Yanev told reporters.

A 49-year-old man — an employee of the printworks — and a 54-year-old woman were detained, he said.

The pair had no previous convictions.

The two were most probably part of a larger scheme that saw the counterfeit money smuggled to Ukraine and Europe, Yanev added.

“There is no evidence that the university authorities knew about this activity,” Sofia police chief Georgy Hadzhiev said, with officials declining to give the name of the institution.

The money was made after working hours and on weekends, Yanev explained, adding that initial assessments pointed to it being of “relatively good” quality.

According to Bulgaria’s chief prosecutor Ivan Geshev, the sum might prove to be one of the largest seizures of counterfeit money ever made in the country.