European police have dismantled a counterfeit money printing gang with links to a mafia clan, arresting 44 people in Italy, France and Belgium, French police said Thursday.

Forty suspects were arrested in Italy, three in France and one in Belgium in the culmination of a years-long investigation coordinated by policing agency Europol, according to France's OCRFM, the branch of the police force dealing with counterfeiting.

Police also seized eight million euros in cash and the same value in property.

The group had ties to the Camorra mafia clan of southern Italy, said the OCRFM.

They are suspected of having produced counterfeit money, mainly 50-euro notes, with a face value of some 10 million euros. 

"For several years now, 90 percent of high-quality counterfeit currency (in circulation) has come from Italy," Eric Bertrand of the OCRFM told AFP.

"The Camorra have a sort of monopoly on this market."

 

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