Banknotes and coins

Combating counterfeiting

The fight against counterfeiting in the Eurosystem is based on four fundamental areas:

  1. The legal classification of the crime and its regulation.
  2. The creation of policing bodies responsible for capturing and prosecuting perpetrators.
  3. The creation of groups of specialists responsible for the analysis, classification and valuation of the various types of counterfeiting.
  4. The co-ordination and supervision of activities relating to the prevention and the fight against counterfeiting at supranational level.

The policing structures are organised based on the National Central Offices (NCOs) of each country, while the groups of specialist technicians operate through the National Analysis Centres (NACs). In the case of Spain, the work of the NCO has been assigned to the Investigation Brigade of the Banco de España and the functions corresponding to the NAC to the Cash and Issue Department of the Banco de España.

You can find statistical information on counterfeit euro banknotes in the "Also of interest" section.

The NAC and the CNAC

Law 46/1998 concerning the introduction of the euro entrusted the Banco de España with the functions relating to the detection and analysis of counterfeit banknotes and coins.

The Executive Commission of the Banco de España therefore agreed that the Cash and Issue Department should assume the functions of the National Analysis Centre (NAC) and of the Coin National Analysis Centre (CNAC), which are also attributed to the Banco de España by this law.

In carrying out these functions, the Cash and Issue Department co-ordinates its actions with the National Police Corps Brigade attached to the Banco de España in order to investigate and stop crimes of currency counterfeiting.

The main functions performed by the NAC, also applicable to the CNAC, are the following:

  • It centralises the reception of all suspected counterfeit euro banknotes found in Spain, analysing and cataloguing the related technical and statistical data, and placing them at the disposal of the Investigation Brigade of the Banco de España. The CNAC performs similar tasks in relation to counterfeit euro coins.
  • It sends the statistical and technical data on counterfeit banknotes and coins received to the Counterfeit Analysis Centre, part of the European Central Bank (ECB), and these are passed on to the various authorities and centres involved in the fight against the counterfeiting of euro banknotes and coins in the other countries.
  • It issues technical reports requested by the Spanish legal or police authorities, and ratifies them in person when so required, by means of the testimony of specialised experts in any legal hearings that may be held.

In addition, the management of the NAC is in permanent contact withEurosystem anti-counterfeiting experts (the CAC in Frankfurt and other NACs in Europe) and with those at other European and American national central banks.

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