Counterfeiters concentrate on coins, Bank of Latvia data suggest

All the counterfeit banknotes and coins Latvian authorities uncovered last year totaled almost LVL 36,000, according to a list released Feb. 16 by the central bank, but the amount posed no threat to the nation’s economy.

A total of 21,397 fake banknotes and coins were uncovered by police in 2010, according to the Bank of Latvia—a more than fivefold increase from 2009. The most popular objects of counterfeiters were 1- and 2-lat coins.

The increase is largely the result of police uncovering counterfeiting operations, according to a press release from the bank.

Overall, according to the bank, counterfeiting is limited in Latvia because of a number of factors: anti-counterfeiting measures; the fact that the lat is circulated in a small territory; and the work of police to uncover counterfeiting operations. One-seventh of all counterfeit money is uncovered in Bank of Latvia affiliates.

The quality of counterfeit banknotes is low, according to the bank. Last year fake banknotes were made using color printers and photocopy machines, with no attempt to imitate anti-counterfeiting measures such as watermarks.

Of all the counterfeit money uncovered last year, 10,759 were 2-lat pieces and 10,422 were 1-lat coins. Since 1994, the 2-lat coin has remained the most popular object of counterfeiters: a total of 53,666 pieces have been confiscated by authorities.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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