Turkey seizes US$271 mil in counterfeit US currency

A collection of US one-dollar bills are seen in this arranged photograph in London, UK. (Bloomberg)

ISTANBUL: Turkish authorities confiscated about US$271 million in fake US US$100 banknotes in a raid on an Istanbul printing press – the country’s biggest counterfeit currency seizure in recent years, Hurriyet newspaper reported on Monday.

The raid was carried out on Friday in Istanbul’s Esenyurt neighbourhood and five people were arrested, it said.

Hurriyet said one of those arrested was previously released after being detained for suspected membership in a network that Ankara blames for orchestrating a failed military coup in 2016.

Turkish authorities accuse the leader of this network, US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, of masterminding the attempted putsch in July 2016. He has denied any involvement.

Authorities are searching for two more suspects over the counterfeit currency and investigating whether the money was connected to Gulen’s network, Hurriyet reported.

Turkish police had no immediate comment on the reported raid.