Disponible en Español

VII Meeting of Experts on the Fight against Money Counterfeiting

October 21 - 22, 2021
Digital format


Inauguration of the VII Meeting of Experts on the Fight against Money Counterfeiting


M.ª Concepción Jiménez, General Director of Cash and Branches of the Bank of Spain and Roberto Marino, Advisor to the General Director of CEMLA welcomed the participants. They stressed that the speakers at this meeting would share the experiences of their countries regarding: the repression of counterfeiters, the developments identified in the last three years with respect to the techniques used by counterfeiters, the impact of training on counterfeiting activities and international counterfeiting statistics and the impact of the pandemic. They considered that the participation of about two hundred central bank officials in this Meeting of Experts on the Fight against Money Counterfeiting denotes the great interest in the subject.

The first session was the presentation of the executive summary of the results of the virtual tour de table about international counterfeiting statistics and the impact of the pandemic by Beatriz García, Head of the Technical Division of Cash of the Bank of Spain.

The virtual tour de table refers to the answers to questions aimed at identifying the measures used in the repression of counterfeiters, and the novelties regarding the techniques used by counterfeiters. The sample was from 31 countries: Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Curacao, European Central Bank, Central Bank of the Eastern Caribbean, Ecuador, El Salvador, Spain, United States, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Italy, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uruguay.

    The presentation included the following conclusions:
  1. The volume of counterfeit pieces, both banknotes and coins, withdrawn from circulation has decreased in 2020, in general, in many of the countries.
  2. The average value of counterfeits in 2020 has decreased in the two geographical areas.
  3. In general, the average value of the counterfeit money is higher than the legitimate one, which shows the preference of counterfeiters for high denominations, with the exception of the Euro system, due to the impact of film banknotes, which are used to a greater extent with low denominations (€ 10 and € 20).
  4. The number of counterfeit pieces per million legitimate pieces in circulation (PPM), both in banknotes and coins, has had a very notable year-on-year drop. And the same applies to the number of fake pieces per thousand inhabitants.
  5. Two technologies used in counterfeiting continue to stand out: offset and digital, with greater growth in the latter, and the appearance of other typologies, such as film banknotes, standing out in the Euro system countries.

The second session dealt with the experience of countries with regard to repression of counterfeiters. This session was moderated by Helena Tejero, Director of the Issuance and Cash Department, Banco de España. Speakers included: Micaela Méndez, Director of Economic Crimes Investigations, OCN Argentina; Edgardo Álvarez, Commissioner, Counterfeit Currency Division of the Argentine Federal Police; Verónica Balbontín, Responsible for the Management of Counterfeit Banknotes, Central Bank of Chile; Ricardo Trejo, Technical Head of the Evaluation of Pieces Office, Banco de México; Juan Ramirez Andueza, President, OCN Peru.

Edgardo Álvarez, Commissioner, Counterfeit currency division of the Argentine Federal Police commented that Argentina is a country of transit and export with respect to the euro and the dollar, and that with respect to the national currency it is only of national origin. He pointed out that the international registration of counterfeiting of pesos was almost nil. He stressed that at the beginning of the nineties, with the emergence of personal computers, a new field of action was generated for counterfeiters. In addition, there has been an improvement of graphic chains and printing media. He commented that the situation in Argentina is characterized by high penalties, lack of effective sentences, lack of national coordination and representation of the state in the complaint.

Verónica Balbontín, in Charge of Counterfeit Banknote Management, Central Bank of Chile, made a presentation on the legislation for deterrence against counterfeiting in Chile. She highlighted the issues of education and information, public-private coordination, international coordination in terms of best practices and the legal system. She commented that the actors involved in the process are: the central bank, the legislative branch, the police, the customs service and society since a “successful” counterfeiting result in a direct loss for the person who unknowingly accepts it. She pointed out that in the face of the threat of counterfeiting, the law empowers to investigate and prosecute counterfeiting operations. She stressed that the powers of the Law on counterfeiting of banknotes and coins are enshrined in Article 162 and following of the Criminal Code and in Article 64 of the Constitutional Organic Law of the Central Bank.

Ricardo Trejo, Technical Head of the Banco de México Evaluation of Pieces Office, commented that, during an Innovation Fair in 2015, Banco de México considered the development of a support team for personnel specialized in the analysis and opinion of allegedly false pieces. Based on this idea, the Research and Development Office of Banco de México initiated a project in collaboration with the Center for Research in Mathematics (CIMAT), for the development of a visual inspection team of the allegedly false pieces. This gave rise to the team that continues in the development of the system named SIVA (Automated Visual Inspection System). Currently, a process called Evaluation of the Quality of Counterfeits is carried out periodically, which validated its effectiveness when compared with evaluations carried out in the population through focus groups, with which it was determined that the methodology used is valid to represent what the public observes on the street through the use of cash.

He concluded that the SIVA system has managed to advance in different phases of its development, reaching stages of implementation in relevant processes. He considered that once the above has been completed 100%, its inclusion in additional processes will be considered. Despite being a technique still in development, there are high expectations for various applications.

Juan Ramirez Andueza, President, OCN Peru, presented a paper regarding the estimation of the damages of the counterfeiters of cash to the State (BCRP), He commented that the counterfeiting of banknotes introduces great uncertainty in cash transactions. He also stressed that counterfeiters deteriorate the image and confidence in the country, put monetary stability at risk and increase the country's risk. He presented a methodology for calculating the damages caused by counterfeiters.

The third session was on the developments identified in the last three years with respect to the techniques used by counterfeiters. The speakers were: Martin Münd. Expert in counterfeit banknotes within the Counterfeit Analysis Centre of the European Central Bank; Jesús Félix, Bank of Mexico. Hugo Ramos Espinoza, Head of the Technical Area, OCN, Peru.

Martin Münd. an expert in counterfeit banknotes within the Counterfeit Analysis Centre of the European Central Bank, gave a presentation on the development of the techniques used by counterfeiters. He commented on the statistics of counterfeit notes by year. He stressed that in 2020 the number of banknotes was below half a million – for the first time since 2003 and that it is expected that in 2021 there will be less than 350,000 counterfeit notes. He commented that in 2020 the ratio between counterfeits and genuine banknotes reached its lowest value in the entire history of the euro and expects that in 2021 this ratio will fall even more.

He stressed that denominations of €20 and €50 have always been preferred by counterfeiters. More than two-thirds of all counterfeits belong to these two denominations. He commented that Italian counterfeiters from the Napoli region are the most important source of fake euros. For many years they counterfeited between 60% and 80% of the total and today it is around 40%.

He stressed that in general, the quality of counterfeit banknotes has fallen in recent years. Counterfeiters usually do the bare minimum as they can distribute counterfeit bills because the public unfortunately pays little attention. He stressed that there are few types of counterfeit bills with sophisticated imitations. These high-quality classes have a market share of 1%-2% of the total.

Jesús Félix, Bank of Mexico, made a presentation on the role of statistics and data mining in the fight against counterfeit currency. He stressed that to detect counterfeit banknotes the first step is to observe the allegedly false piece, identify the printing technique, and identify the imitation of the security elements. He commented that sometimes some fakes are 'poor', as well as their technique, so they go unnoticed by experts. For this reason, it is very useful to use statistical and data mining tools for the identification of counterfeit banknotes. With statistical and econometric techniques (time series, linear regression, statistical models) patterns, trends, and correlations are identified.

He commented on the design of a new indicator and that the use of this new indicator has the following advantages: 1) It helps to better understand the behavior of counterfeiting; (2) it can highlight the dangerousness of counterfeiting; 3) It has no bias as currently the Parts per Million (PPM) indicator.

He concluded that the use of statistics and data mining makes it possible to identify patterns and trends and help to find relevant fakes that could go unnoticed by experts. Likewise, the statistics also allow the generation of new metrics, other than PPM, which could better describe the complexity of counterfeiting.

Hugo Ramos Espinoza, Head of the Technical Area, OCN Peru. His presentation was about the 100-dollar bill composed of genuine fragments. He stressed that they have as main characteristics that all their parts are genuine and do not correspond to the same bill, they do not lack any security element, they have the same cutting pattern and have a good state of conservation. He commented that these banknotes arrive at the OCN in application of the procedure of retention of allegedly counterfeit banknotes in charge of the entities of the Peruvian financial system. He stressed that approximately a thousand banknotes with these characteristics have been seized and that in the first two years an average of 30 banknotes per month were seized, in the last year approximately 20 banknotes per month arrived and in recent months it fell to 10 banknotes per month. He considers it important to exchange information between countries in order to determine its origin and take action on it.

The fourth session was about the impact of training on counterfeiting activities. The speakers were Juan Pablo Reyna, Deputy Manager of Attention to Counterfeit Currency, Bank of Mexico and Juan Pablo Garnacho, Banknote Analysis Unit, Banco de España.

Juan Pablo Reyna, Deputy Manager of Attention to Counterfeit Currency, Bank of Mexico, made a presentation about the influence of training in the detection of counterfeit banknotes. In his presentation, he commented that the training reaffirms the knowledge of the denominations and families of banknotes in circulation, given that 100% of the respondents answered apriori and posteriori that they do know the denominations and families in circulation. He noted that approximately 35% of the participants increased their knowledge regarding the security elements, 92% of the participants changed their way of thinking by checking their banknotes from only the texture to the "touch, look and turn". He concluded that training people reduces the possibility of circulation of fake pieces. It is estimated that 56% of participants in training courses check their tickets. He stressed that, based on this percentage, if the entire population of the country is trained, counterfeiting would diminish by one half.

Juan Pablo Garnacho from the Banknote Analysis Unit of the Bank of Spain made a presentation on the impact of training on currency authentication on cash users. He commented that the Bank of Spain organizes training courses throughout the year with the following objectives: 1) Explain the security elements; 2) Authenticate legitimate banknotes; 3) Discover counterfeit bills. The courses are mainly aimed at: professionals from: money transport companies, commercial banks, exchange offices, casinos, machinery manufacturers, etc. police; shop assistants; Banco de España employees in training; students and teachers. The effectiveness of the courses aims to be measured through the detection tests.

As conclusions, he pointed out that the training increases the number of successes mainly in the identification of legitimate banknotes, while the detection of counterfeit banknotes presents a minor improvement. The reduction in accepted counterfeits is slight and mainly affects medium-quality counterfeits.

M.ª Concepción Jiménez, General Director of Cash and Branches of the Bank of Spain closed the Meeting of Experts on the Fight against Money Counterfeiting, thanked the more than 200 participants for their interest and the panelists for their excellent presentations. He commented that the next Meeting of Experts in Combating Counterfeiting of Coins will be in 2023, and indicated that he wants it to be in person.


Thursday, 21st October


Welcome and opening

  • · Mª Concepción Jiménez, Directorate General Cash and Branches - Banco de España.
  • · Helena Tejero, Director of the Cash and Issue Department - Banco de España.
  • · D. Roberto Marino, Advisor to the director general - CEMLA.

Executive Summary; International statistics on cash counterfeiting and the impact of the pandemic (results of the tour de table on line)

  • · Beatriz García, Head of the Cash Technical Division - Banco de España.

Law enforcement against counterfeiters

  • · Micaela Méndez, Director of Investigations of Economic Crime - OCN Argentina.
  • · Edgardo Álvarez, Head of the Counterfeiting Crimes Investigation Division - Argentina Federal Police.
  • · Verónica Balbontín, In charge of Counterfeit Banknote Management - Banco Central de Chile.
    Updating the regulation to prevent counterfeiting
  • · Ricardo Trejo, Head of the Evaluation and Counterfeit Analysis Office - Banco de México.
    SIVA, Automatic visual inspection system
  • · Juan Ramirez Andueza, Presidente - OCN Perú.
    Civil damages claimed against the counterfeiter


Friday, 22nd October


Identified developments in the technics used by the counterfeiters in the last three years

  • · Martin Münd, Expert on counterfeit banknote. Counterfeit Analysis Centre (CAC) - European Central Bank.
  • · Jesús Félix, - Banco de México.
    The role of the statistic and data mining in the fight against counterfeiting
  • · Hugo Ramos Espinoza, Head of the Technical Area - OCN Perú.

Impact of the training to combat counterfeiting

  • · Juan Pablo Reyna, Deputy Manager of the Currency Counterfeiting Subdivision – Banco de México.
    The impact of training on the currency authentication by cash users
  • · Juan Pablo Garnacho, Banknote Analysis Unit - Banco de España.
    Detection test: Influence of training on the identification of counterfeit- banknotes

Conclusions and closure

Concha Jiménez
Banco de España

Concha Jiménez was appointed Director General Cash and Branches of the Banco de España in 2017. She has also been the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Banco de España Printing Works, IMBISA, since 2015. At the ECB-European System of Central Banks, she is a member of the Banknote Committee and of the Eurosystem Production and Procurement System Steering Committee. She is a member of the Central Bank Counterfeit Deterrence Group, of the Executive Committee of the Banknote Reproduction Research Centre and of the Policy Committee and the Advisory Group of the European Banknote Conference. Previously, she was Associate Director General Cash Management and, prior to that, Director of the Operations Department of the Banco de España.

Concha graduated in Economics from Universidad Complutense de Madrid in 1979 and is a Public Accountant, and completed the Management Program at the IESE Business School. To complete her professional background, she was awarded several international scholarships.

Roberto Marino

Advisor to the director general of CEMLA. In 2011 and 2012, Roberto Marino was The Special Representative for the Presidency of the G20 in Mexico. Its main functions were to promote an open dialogue with non-G20 countries, international and regional organizations, the private sector, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other members of civil society. Until mid-2011, Mr. Marino was Manager of International Affairs at the Bank of Mexico. In the early nineties, he was executive director representing Mexico, Spain, Venezuela and Central America on the IMF's executive board, actively participating in the debates on the economic prospects of the Mexican economy, the design of adjustment programs, issues of over-indebtedness in Latin America, fiscal consolidation and banking crisis, among other topics. He has also been a senior fellow at the German Development Institute, where he conducted research on the IMF's pre-emptive lending facilities.

Mr. Marino undertook doctoral studies in Economics at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and earned his bachelor's degree in Economics from the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM).

Beatriz García
Banco de España

Degree in Industrial Engineering, specialty industrial organisation (Universidad Politécnica de Valencia) and Industrial Technical Engineer, specialised in mechanical engineering (Universidad Politécnica de Madrid). Master´s degree in Business Administration from the Universidad Politécnica de Comillas and Management Development Programme at IESE School of Business. Before joining Banco de España, she worked as engineering project manager and responsible for the manufacturing organisation at the German multinational company Robert Bosch in Madrid. She joined Banco de España in 2004, as assessment systems expert in the Human Resources and Organization Department. In 2010, she joined the Cash and Issue Department, where she has been involving in several areas as manager. For nine months, she was commissioned in the Cash Department at the Deutsche Bundesbank.

Since 2018, she is Head of the Cash Technical Division, being responsible for the areas of Banknote Analysis, Coin Analysis and the Cash Circulation Technology Unit.

Micaela Méndez
OCN Argentina

Micaela Laura Mendez lawyer from the University of Buenos Aires Works as Director of Investigations of Economic Crimes of the Ministry of Security of the Argentine Nation, and she is in charge of conducting the National Central Office Fight Against Counterfeiting Currency (OCN Argentina). Where it intervenes in the planning of all complex crime investigation activities and committed by organized crime in the field of the Police and Security Forces, executes specific prevention mechanisms in the commission of economic crimes and articulates actions with local, provincial and national government agencies that are linked to the economic crimes investigated in the Argentine Republic.

Edgardo Álvarez
Policía Federal Argentina

Since 2018 Head of the Counterfeiting Crimes Investigation Division. Previously, he held the positions of Head of the Division and Operations in the Department of the Federal Unit for counterfeiting crimes and Head of the Currency Counterfeiting Division, among others.

As for his extensive experience as a teacher, he teaches courses on economic crimes at PRO.NA.CAP under the Ministry of Justice and Security of the nation and the University of La Matanza. He is also a teacher of the Argentine Federal Police in courses on currency counterfeiting and economic crimes. Teacher at the Youth Olympics Cashier Pound Sterling Detection Course.

He has taken different courses, including: Interpol criminal intelligence course (2012); Training sessions organized by the B.I.B.E (Bank of Spain investigation brigade) at Europol (European Police) and OLAF (anti-fraud office) Madrid - Brussels 2011; Update on criminal investigation on money laundering and terrorist financing, issued by the asset investigations division (Arg Federal Police); Course on operational verification of Iberpol documents (Ibero-American school of permanent secretary police) (Ávila, Spain); U.S currency training seminar, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve system and the embassy of the USA in Buenos Aires.

Verónica Balbotín
Banco de Chile

Verónica Balbontín is a Criminalist from Universidad Tecnológica Metropolitana specialized in Criminal Prevention and Investigation.

She joined the Central Bank of Chile in 2013 as part of the Currency Research and Development Department and is currently in charge of Counterfeit Banknote Management. Previously she worked for more than 20 years with the country's Law Enforcement Carabineros de Chile with responsibilities in crime prevention, analysis of documents and manuscripts and Organized Crime Investigation.

Ricardo Trejo
Banco de México

Ricardo, Head of the Evaluation and Counterfeit Analysis Office, holds a degree in Biological and Pharmaceutical Chemistry. In Banco de México since 2003, he has specialized in several topics related to currency counterfeiting.

Trained in Mexico and abroad in several areas such as chemistry, graphic arts and design and banknotes’ identification.

Juan Ramírez Andueza
OCN Perú

Juan Ramírez Andueza, is an official of the BCRP assigned as President of the OCN. He is an economist with a Masters in Economics from the University of Manchester (UK).

He held the managerial position in different areas of the BCRP related to banknotes and coins; administration of international reserves and monetary operations and payment system, from 1991 to 2016.

He is responsible for the analysis of the damages and losses (civil damages) of the counterfeiting of banknotes and coins to the State presented in the legal proceedings against the counterfeiters.

Martin Münd
Banco Central Europeo

Martin Münd was born in Mannheim, Germany in 1964. He started printing at the age of 12 in a voluntary workshop at school and went on to establish his own little print shop as a side business in the cellar of his parents‘ house. He studied printing technology at the “Fachhochschule für Druck” in Stuttgart, Germany and graduated as a printing engineer in 1995. For four years he was employed in the process engineering department of a major manufacturer of electric appliances as an expert on printing and marking technologies. In 1999 he followed his life long passion and fascination for banknotes by joining the counterfeit money department of Deutsche Bundesbank. In 2001 he moved on to the European Central Bank and has since been working at the ECB’s Counterfeit Analysis Centre (CAC) as an expert on counterfeit banknotes.

Jesús Félix
Banco de México

Jesús has more than eight years of experience building mathematical and statistical models about trends of currency counterfeiting, within Banco de México.

Graduated cum laude from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México as a Mathematician, he also holds a Master's degree in Operations Research.

Hugo Ramos Espinoza
OCN Perú

Hugo Ramos Espinoza is a BCRP official, assigned to the OCN as Head of the Technical Area. He is an industrial engineer with high experience in the analysis of counterfeits of banknotes and coins, in soles and foreign currency, and of machinery, equipment and supplies seized from counterfeiters in police interventions.

He is responsible when an expert opinion with legal value is requested by justice operators.

Juan Pablo Reyna
Banco de México

With a 30-years professional career at Banco de México, Juan Pablo has held different positions within the Directorate General of Currency Issuance and the Directorate of Security. He currently serves as Deputy Manager of the Currency Counterfeiting Subdivision.

He holds a BSc in Applied Mathematics and Computing Science from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, a MSc in Artificial Intelligence from the University of Edinburgh, and an Executive Specialization in Criminalistic from the Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Penales (Mexico).

Juan Pablo Garnacho
Banco de España

Banknote Analysis Unit. Juan Pablo studied Chemical Engineering at the Universidad Complutense in Madrid. He started his career in the graphic arts industry and continued in a company which produces security printing inks. In 2007 he joined Banco de España as analyst of counterfeits. He has collaborated in various R&D projects in the Cash and Issue Department. Since 2015, he represents Banco de España in the Counterfeit Resilience Test Team (CRTT) of the European System of Central Banks, which is in charge of assessing the resilience of new banknote security features against counterfeiting.