Man jailed after £1m of counterfeit notes found stashed in suitcases

Emil Bogdan Savastru

Emil Bogdan Savastru - Credit: Met Police

A man has been jailed after more than £1m worth of counterfeit notes were found stuffed into suitcases in Bow. 

Detectives found a bag of fake £50 notes and thousands of 200 euro notes stashed away in large suitcases when they raided a house in Shetland Road on January 30, 2020. 

Officers seized the money and sought advice from officials at the Bank of England, who confirmed they were counterfeit after examining them.

Documents left by Emil Bogdan Savastru at the scene linked him to the crime, and he was arrested at Heathrow Airport later that day, while waiting to board a flight to Japan.

When questioned, he refused to explain how the notes were in his possession, where he had got them from or what he was planning to do with them.

Savastru, 31, of no fixed address, was found guilty in December of having custody or control of counterfeit notes, following a trial at Isleworth Crown Court.

He was sentenced to 11 months’ imprisonment today - February 10 - at the same court. 

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Det Con Andrew Payne, who led the investigation, said “We work closely with the Bank of England and the National Counterfeit Currency Unit (UKNCO) at the National Crime Agency to tackle this type of crime.

“The seizure of this significant amount of counterfeit currency has ensured it cannot get into circulation in the UK.

"Counterfeit currency supports criminal activity, harms the UK economy and has a real and significant impact on businesses and individuals who take possession of worthless money.

“Our proactive operation means we have been able to take a significant quantity of counterfeit notes out of circulation.

"Without a doubt, these notes would have been used to commit further crimes across the UK.”

According to the National Crime Agency, organised criminals involved in currency counterfeiting often come together to operate as linked networks.

Some groups may produce their own unique fake banknotes, while others may "finish" (add the foil security features) or distribute counterfeits from other groups. 

Circulating fake money is "high risk", so large batches are usually broken down for distribution by street-level criminals, according to officials.