Highlighting the definite links between counterfeiting and organized crime

These days counterfeiting affects not just luxury goods but all consumer products (clothing, toys, pharmaceutical goods, foodstuffs). Measuring the scale and economic impact of counterfeiting is a difficult matter, but studies have estimated that in 2015 Italians spent € 6.9 billion on counterfeit goods.

The profit margins from counterfeiting are extremely high and the penalties are low compared to those for other forms of illegal activity.

As a result, the trade in fake goods has become highly attractive to organized criminals, leading to a major anti-counterfeiting drive by the Guardia di Finanza (tax police) and the customs authorities in Italy.

The recent “Gran Bazar” operation resulted in the issuing of 53 pre-trial detention orders against members of a number of Camorra clans.

The Police seized 18 illegal laboratories, 11 kilometers of counterfeit Louis Vuitton fabric and more than 400,000 counterfeit articles bearing the Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Gucci, Burberry labels. This sort of operation shows that with proper cooperation between police and rights holders, the sophisticated anti-counterfeiting tools made available under Italian law can prove very effective indeed.