Cooperation of authorities was pivotal
During an inspection at the beginning of July in French Département Hauts-de-Seine, custom officials discovered thousands of suspicious luxury and consumer goods in a delivery truck. All in all, more than 61,500 articles – approximately five tons – were found to be counterfeits. Included among the illegal imitations were, for example, high-priced wristwatches, numerous accessories such as glasses, scarves, jewellery and handbags, as well as football jerseys, sports footwear and leather goods.
In addition, the customs officials also confiscated approximately 40,000 counterfeit labels from the French fashion brand Lacoste. All in all, the counterfeits violated the rights of 30 brand-name companies. According to the driver of the truck, which is registered in Great Britain, the delivery was on its way to a logistics centre in the Paris area.
In addition to French customs, representatives from the local police department in Nanterre as well as officers from the DRIEA (Direction Régionale et Interdépartementale de l'Equipement et l’Aménagement) were also involved in the successful operation close to Paris. “I welcome the cooperation between the agencies and customs’ mobilisation in the battle against counterfeits, which represent a threefold danger to health, public safety and the economy of our country”, praised Gérald Darmanin from the Ministère de l'Action et des Comptes Publics when speaking of the operation.
The counterfeits attracted attention due to poor workmanship
Just a few weeks later, customs officials close to Calais confiscated roughly 12,400 further counterfeits in postal shipments that were on their way from Great Britain to Spain. The French agents found numerous counterfeit accessories and clothing items from brand manufacturers such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Michael Kors in the packages. Jerseys from famous sports teams were also amongst the copies, for example the Italian football club Juventus Turin.
The customs officials noticed the products’ strong chemical smell while inspecting the packages. Taking a closer look, they could also see manufacturing mistakes such as colour deviations and imprecise seams. The affected brand owners were able to confirm the suspected plagiarism. The illegal products, which would have earned the counterfeiters approximately 1.5 million euros, will now be destroyed under customs supervision.
Video recordings of the two successful confiscations were recently published on the French customs’ YouTube channel
Direction Générale des Douanes et Droits Indirects, Ministère de l’Action et des Comptes Publics, Europe1