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.
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.