Fake Currency Cases on the Rise

ABU DHABI - There has been a substantial increase this year in the number of counterfeit currency seizures, according to a report published in the December edition of ‘999’ magazine, a publication of the Ministry of Interior (MoI).

By Olivia Olarte

Published: Sun 13 Dec 2009, 12:50 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 9:28 AM

Twenty-nine cases of counterfeit currency have been recorded so far this year, as compared to 16 cases last year.

“Money counterfeiting is a serious crime as it affects (the) national economy,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Dr Mohammed Bu Rashid, head of the Organised Crimes Section in the Criminal Investigation Department of Abu Dhabi Police.

He noted that even the most protected currencies in the world were not immune to this crime.

“What a criminal would need is a high quality colour printer that is now available at all photo-processing laboratories,” he said.

“Fraudulent methods are continuously developing,” he said, citing the arrest of an African, who ‘invented’ a machine to counterfeit bank notes inside the UAE.

Fake currencies seized by the police ranged from Dh1 million to Dh10 million, the report said.

The most popular UAE currency denominations counterfeited are Dh500, Dh200 and Dh100 notes while in the case of US dollar it is the $100 bill.

According to Colonel Abdul Rahman Al Hamadi, Director of the Criminal Laboratory, Abu Dhabi Police, “The UAE is among the best in the world in protecting its currency against counterfeiting. The UAE notes have very sophisticated security features.”

“That’s why we always seek to catch up with the latest technologies introduced in the world, especially those used in the currency note manufacturing, inks and special features,” he said while pointing out that modern technologies benefit the counterfeiters as well.

The report said the UAE dirham notes are protected by advanced security features that include the security thread, watermark, hologram printing and Optically Variable Ink that has to do with visible features. The invisible features of the dirham include fluorescence with the UAE logo, the denomination and optical fibres.

First Chemist Fatimah Ibrahim of the Documents Inspection Unit, Currency and Printed Material Inspection at the Criminal Laboratory, said it is difficult for a normal person to distinguish a counterfeit note from a genuine one due to the various ways used in the money counterfeiting process, which includes manual drawing, surface printing, printing by clichés which is the most dangerous type of counterfeiting, colour photocopying and computerised counterfeiting.

The UAE law punishes anyone bringing in or circulating counterfeit currency notes to a year in prison or a fine of Dh5,000 while money counterfeiters could be sentenced to life in prison.

In order to curb counterfeiting, experts at the Document Inspection Unit, Currency and Printed Material Inspection at the Criminal Laboratory suggested addition of more security features to the UAE dirham as well as stiffer penalties.


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