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Italy’s Financial Guard Seizes Counterfeit Legwear

The merchandise included more than 2.5 million fake Pompea brand socks and stockings, according to statements from the Guard.

MILAN — It’s been a busy summer for Italy’s Financial Guard, which recently sequestered more than 17.5 million counterfeit articles in northeastern Padua and Rome. The merchandise included toys, cosmetics, hardware and clothing — notably, more than 2.5 million fake Pompea brand socks and stockings, according to statements from the Guard. The hosiery is estimated to be worth 4 million euros, or $5.3 million at current exchange.

The assorted products reached Italy after passing through customs in other European Union countries.

In recent years, Italy’s hosiery workers have rallied for more harmonized EU laws to prevent counterfeit products from entering the market. They argue that false fiber content declarations and labels on some imports not only create unfair competition, but also pose a safety risk for consumers.

Reacting to the Financial Guard’s intervention and the related arrests of several Chinese entrepreneurs, Luca Bondioli, president of A.Di.Ci, the Italian association of hosiery and intimates companies, congratulated the authorities but expressed ongoing concerns.

“This operation tells us that counterfeit is a double problem, both in terms of brands and of product, and these two crimes enormously damage honest Italian companies,” said Bondioli. “I hope this is only the beginning, and that the inspections and laws on this subject only get tougher going forward.”

The Financial Guard noted that many of the sequestered goods did not meet European safety standards, with cosmetics containing glue, lead, nickel, chromate and dichromate among the items seized.