French authorities dismantle large-scale counterfeit network
French authorities have recently dismantled a counterfeiter network in south-west France with supposed links to Turkey. The gang is said to have acquired clothes, shoes, perfumes, jewellery and leather goods from Turkey via the Lyon or Paris regions; the imports were either counterfeit products or had logos of well-known brands sewn into them at a later stage.
The authorities began investigating the network in summer 2020, leading to a major operation in January. A total of 65 police officers were involved and twelve suspects arrested, seven of whom will now face trial, according to media reports. The alleged mastermind of the illegal operation initially traded the counterfeits themselves online and subsequently also hired others to do the selling. They allegedly sold the fake items online via pages such as Facebook Marketplace and the French classified ads website Le Bon Coin. A supposed retailer would present the counterfeit products in videos and then share them in a private Facebook group with around 13,700 members, for example.
One of the online marketplaces that the counterfeiters used for their illegal sales activities alerted the French authorities about the reputed counterfeits. Police then traced transactions back to one of three presumed retailers, a man from a small municipality near Pau, in the southwest region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine. Investigations are continuing, according to reports. The authorities aim to uncover any further links in the network, both within France and to the source of illegal products in Turkey, for example.
Article produced in cooperation with Anti-Piracy Analyst, February 2021 issue