Faking it: Italy's flourishing market
Photo credit: Chu's your weapon
Italy may be struggling against a deficit of several million
euros but in some markets, the country has never had more money.
550,000 fake euro
notes are printed in Italy's Campania region every year - 69 per cent of the
total number of fraudulent bills seized by European banks.
While property buyers used to head to Italy for sunshine and
wine, an altogether different level of clientele are pouring into Puglia's
apartments, producing counterfeit money that is then circulated by criminal
groups all around the world.
"In Italy, there's a
great, ancient and august tradition: here, they make fake money, done well,"
Colonel Alessandro Gentili, the head of the Italian Carabinieri's Currency
Anti-Counterfeiting Unit in Rome, told The
New York Times.
"Giugliano is still the capital. It has the best
For years, police have been raiding the Campania area, home
to the Camorra organised crime network, for illegal presses, where everything
from lire to francs have been faked.
When the euro was introduced in 2002, it was only a few days until the
first fraudulent notes were spotted by authorities.
Now, hundreds of thousands of counterfeit bills blend in
with the 14 billion euros currently in circulation across the globe. Some
immigrants from Africa and Latin America even use the fake euros to buy
But as Italy finds itself short of several million bob, the
country's property market may not need fake currency soon to bring in the
bucks, according to optimistic agents.
Buyers from Europe have been the only ones brave enough to
enter the country's real estate market recently, but the growing strength of
the sterling may see Brits return to Italy in 2012, with Tuscany and Umbria predicted
If the currency trends continue this year, Italian agent Casa
Travella even suggests that renewed demand could cause prices to eventually
"There has been an increase in the amount of buyers searching
online in the last 12 months," Linda Travella told Property
is an excellent time to buy a property in Italy as the Pound is at its
strongest for almost two years and prices are at their lowest. A
vast selection of properties and a strong Pound means it is a buyers'
market. The Tuscan real estate market has always been international and
there is still interest from around the world," she added.
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