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Gardaí in biggest bust in world as €300k of fake electronics seized

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Gardai remove boxes of suspected conterfeit products seized in the raid.

Gardai remove boxes of suspected conterfeit products seized in the raid.

Colin Keegan

Gardai remove boxes of suspected conterfeit products seized in the raid.

Gardaí have seized €300,000 worth of bogus electronic dev- ices after raiding a business in the capital.

The north Dublin home of a suspect believed to be centrally involved in the sale of counterfeit goods was also searched by detectives during the operation yesterday.

Around 15,000 devices and products were seized including earphones, USB plugs, phone chargers and game controllers along with branded packaging.

Gardaí believe the fake products, which were recovered from a south Dublin business, were being made available for the Christmas market.

No person was detained during yesterday's searches, but detectives expect to make arrests and will carry out more searches.

intellectual

The operation is being led by the Intellectual Property Crime Unit within the Garda's National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NBCI) as part of Operation Bannister.

A house in Dublin 3 linked to a person suspected of involvement in the sale of counterfeit products was searched.

A business premises in the Dublin 12 area was also raided. It was there that the massive haul was seized.

Detectives attached to the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) and the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) were also involved in the operation along with the dog unit.

Gardaí seized around 10,000 branded packages of companies including Apple and Sony, along with the 15,000 bogus devices valued at around €300,000.

The seizure was the biggest of fake branded goods worldwide this year. Hard drives, along with documentation and mobile phones, were also recovered and will be examined.

"Investigations are continuing, in the above-mentioned regard, and have involved the taking of statements from relevant potential witnesses," a garda spokeswoman said.

"It is anticipated that foll- owing a comprehensive assessment of property seized, suspects will be arrested.

"There is also potential for the undertaking of additional searches of relevant premises."

Due to the international dimension of intellectual property crime, gardaí are liaising with Europol, the EU's law enforcement agency.

This, gardaí say, is for the purpose of "ensuring appropriate involvement on the part of Ireland in relevant investigations that have a Europe-wide dimension".

Members of the NBCI also liaised with a number of other organisations in the planning of yesterday's raids.

These included React - a group made up of 280 rights owners - and Underwriters Laboratory, a global safety science company that tests latest products and technologies for safety before they are marketed around the world.

Gardaí also liaised with the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC), which holds a dual mandate to enforce competition and consumer protection, in relation to Operation Bannister.


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