PARIS – A major counterfeit cosmetics operation located in the region of Paris is being dismantled, according to customs officials here on Wednesday.
The investigators said they had for weeks been tracking a laboratory in the country’s Seine-et-Marne region that was illegally manufacturing knockoffs of face- and body-care products sold in the pharmacy channel. The lab was also simultaneously producing its own private-label cosmetics destined for export.
“This is an exceptional and unprecedented case, not only because it is a laboratory with a dual activity, but also because of the location on national soil of the cosmetics products’ production,” the Douanes et Droits Indirects, a branch of France’s customs activity, said in a statement.
While inspecting the lab, customs officials came upon a large stock of counterfeit products and proof there was another company located in the same department specialized in storage and shipping. In a second site, the officials seized about 45,000 counterfeit products, an equivalent number of units of cosmetics packaging — such as tubes, jars and bottles — as well as empty outer packaging that was destined to hold the fake cosmetics items.
A few days later, further investigation unveiled yet another stocking facility situated in the Calvados region of France that held 17,000 counterfeit cosmetics products and 50,000 units of empty packaging.
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Managers of the manufacturing and stocking facilities have been questioned by investigators, and subsequent legal steps will be taken by French customs’ judiciary service, the Douanes et Droits Indirects said.
A crackdown of counterfeit items continues in France’s luxury-goods sector, too. For instance, as reported, this past fall police said they had found a counterfeiting ring in the outskirts of Paris that was selling fake watches bearing three LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton-owned brand names. They were worth 1.5 million euros, or $1.6 million at current exchange.
In 2015, French customs intercepted 7.7 billion counterfeit items overall, it said.