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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Counterfeiting Suspects Used Stolen State Paper

Police have detained three men suspected of selling counterfeit rubles with a face value of 41 million rubles (about $20,000), a top Moscow police official said Wednesday.

Yevgeny Tumanov, head of the city's economic crime investigation department, said at a press conference that the forgeries were very good quality, partly because the 50,000-ruble bills were printed on the same paper used by the state mint to produce money.

He said police had detained on July 29 a Russian businessman, whom he declined to identify, and two accomplices who had tried to exchange 820 forged 50,000-ruble banknotes for dollars in a hard currency exchange office.

"For the first time, criminals printed banknotes not on forged paper but on the state paper money is printed on," Tumanov said. "Most likely they stole this paper from a state enterprise producing the banknote paper."

Tumanov said the forged bills had been printed with the help of color copiers which were technically similar to machines that the government used to print banknotes.

"The forged banknotes were very good quality," Tumanov said.

Tumanov said police that in Tula last month, police had confiscated several 50,000 banknotes also printed on the same paper.

"We suspect a new well-organized crime group which spreads the forged 50,000 banknotes is operating in the country," he said, adding that the main places producing the forged banknotes were situated in the North Caucasus, in Chechnya and Daghestan.

"The best way to protect banknotes is to use plastic or metallic ribbons inserted into a banknote, like in American dollars and in Deutsche marks, but for us it is too expensive," he said.

According to Interior Ministry statistics, police throughout the nation confiscated 44,000 forged banknotes worth 1.7 trillion rubles in 1993, compared to 3,500 forged banknotes worth 4.5 million rubles in 1992.