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News - Media Releases 2015

04/08/2015

Bi-annual information on euro banknote counterfeiting in Malta

In the first half of 2015, the number of counterfeit euro banknotes reported to the Central Bank of Malta amounted to 2,361 pieces. The main reason for the increase in counterfeit banknotes seen in this reporting period is attributed to a police seizure that occurred on 18 May involving 1,075 notes (1,055 pieces of €100 and 20 pieces of €50) seized from a foreigner at the Malta International Airport prior to his departure.

Half-yearly and annual data of counterfeit notes withdrawn from circulation in Malta since the adoption of the euro in 2008 are as shown in Table 1 below.

Table 1

 

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

 

H1

H2

H1

H2

H1

H2

H1

H2

H1

H2

H1

H2

H1

H2

H1

Number of Counterfeits

642

903

798

520

760

1,663

484

1,059

951

713

877

874

507

990

2,361

1,545

1,318

2,423

1,543

1,664

1,751

1,497

 

The proportion of euro counterfeits in Malta remains insignificant when compared with the number of genuine euro banknotes in circulation (slightly above 12.15 million on average for the first half of 2015). It is also very low (0.52%) as a proportion of the total number of counterfeits seized in the euro area, which according to the European Central Bank's press release issued on Friday 17 July, amounted to 454,000 pieces as a whole over the same period (January to June 2015).

As a result of the mentioned police seizure, there was an increase in the number of €100 seized in circulation, which now accounts for 51.5% of all counterfeits seized in Malta. The market share of the €50 in Malta remains very low with only 5.7% of all counterfeits seized while the share of the €20 and the €10 decreased when compared to the second half of 2014.

This pattern can be discerned in Table 2 below which provides a percentage breakdown by denomination, of the total number of counterfeits withdrawn from circulation in the first half of 2015 compared to those withdrawn in the euro area as a whole.

Table 2

 

 

€5

€10

€20

€50

€100

€200

€500

Percentage breakdown

Euro area

1.5

2.4

54.7

31.3

8.5

1.1

0.5

Malta

0.5

10.2

32.0

5.7

51.5

0.0

0.1

Notwithstanding the low figures of counterfeits reported locally, the Central Bank of Malta continues to advise the public to remain alert with regard to the banknotes received in cash transactions. Genuine banknotes can be easily recognised using the simple "feel-look-tilt" test, which is described on the Bank's website.

In its continuous effort against counterfeiting, the Bank has embarked upon a wide training programme targeted towards all sectors in Malta.  In May the Bank and the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) jointly launched the National Project for the Certification of Cash Handlers which has been specifically designed to train professional cash handlers providing them with the necessary skills in detecting counterfeit banknotes. This programme is being rolled out in three consecutive phases covering the training of professional cash handlers working at the Central Bank of Malta and the credit institutions; the financial institutions; and the retail sector. In July, the Bank and the GRTU Malta Chamber of SMEs launched a tailor made national educational programme for the retail sector. Other training programmes are being planned for other sectors.  The Bank is available to provide any support, including training to any local entities which may require such assistance.

Anyone who receives a counterfeit note or suspects that he/she is in possession of a counterfeit note should contact either the Police on telephone 2122 4001 or the Central Bank of Malta on telephone 2550 6012/13 or by email.

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