Anti-counterfeiting tools

Anti-counterfeiting in Spain rests on three pillars, which cooperate with each other:

  • Expertise. It focuses on collecting, analyzing and cataloging information on counterfeit banknotes and coins. This task falls within the Banco de España, specifically in the National Analysis Center (NAC) and the Coins National Analysis Center (CNAC). This technical and statistical information is also communicated to the Eurosystem and the enforcement agencies (specifically, the Banco de España Monetary Offences Investigation Brigade, of the National Police).
  • Secondly, policing: It consists of investigating and prosecuting crimes related to the counterfeiting of the euro, a crucial task to maintain the integrity of our cash. This task is performed by the National Police, specifically the so-called Banco de España Monetary Offences Investigation Brigade (BIBE).
  • Finally, the judicial authorities, which relay on the Penal Code, according to which: 

    • It establishes sentences of 8-12 years and fines of up to 10 times the apparent value of the currency for those who counterfeit or alter euro banknotes or coins.

    • In addition, it also establishes as an offence spending or distributing it after discovering that it is counterfeit, despite having received it in good faith.

These three structures coordinate with each other in terms of preventing and fighting against counterfeiting at not only national but also supranational level.

You can find statistical information on counterfeit euro banknotes in the "Related information" section.

All together fight against counterfeiting

The NAC and the CNAC of Banco de España

The Banco de España holds the status of national authority in protecting the euro against counterfeiting, and it is entrusted with the functions related to the detection and analysis of counterfeit banknotes and coins.

To carry out these functions, the Banco de España created the National Analysis Center (NAC) and the Coin National Analysis Center (CNAC) within the Cash Department.

Expertise is a crucial and absolutely necessary for the anti-counterfeiting law enforcement bodies to be able to duly perform their tasks. Without it, it would be very complicated and costly, in terms of resources and time, to arrest and prosecute counterfeiters and distributors.

Banco de España Monetary Offences Investigation Brigade (BIBE)

The Banco de España Monetary Offences Investigation Brigade is part of the Central Unit for Economic and Fiscal Crime of the Commissariat General of Criminal Police (UDEF by its Spanish initials). The brigade was created in 1934 and it assumed the investigation of offences related to national and foreign currency counterfeiting, operating as a National Central Offices (NCO). Its main functions and obligations in terms of banknotes and coins are set out in the document that you can find bellow.

Strong, reliable and regular cooperation between technical and police experts is a major weapon in the fight against counterfeiting.

Entities, businesses and citizens

Euro banknotes and coins circulate between businesses, citizens and credit institutions as a result of the economic transactions that take place on a daily basis..

Credit institutions, as well as any other economic agent that participates in the treatment and delivery to the public of banknotes and currency (including, among others, exchange houses and cash transport companies) have the obligation to withdraw from circulation all euro banknotes and coins received that are known to be false or may be reasonably suspected. They must also hand them over without delay to the competent national authorities.

Any citizen who receives a banknote or coin suspected of being counterfeit must also deliver it to the Banco de España, a credit institution or the police authorities.

Do you want to know more about the powers of the CNA and CNAM of the Banco de España or the BIBE? File PDF: Opens in new window (488 KB)

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