About 50 Percent of US Dollars in Russia Are Forged

Experts say that counterfeit dollars have attained perfection

About 560 billion dollars in cash circulates through the world at present. About 70 percent of this cash is used beyond American borders. The USA believes that Russia comes second (after the USA itself) from the point of view of quantity of dollar cash circulation. About 363 million counterfeit dollars were confiscated worldwide from 1929-1995. Only one-third of this sum was withdrawn from circulation in the States. The counterfeit dollar boom occurred in 1993, when 120 million counterfeit dollars were seized outside the USA.

Russian banks received of counterfeit dollar numbers in 1993, for it was believed at that time that there was no other way to detect them. Kevin Rodgers, a special agent with the American Treasury's secret service, visited Russia in 2000. "I was surprised to know that counterfeit money is not an issue for Russian authorities. They have a well-developed system for find and withdrawing counterfeit dollars from circulation in Russia," Kevin Rodgers stated. The agent was could not have been more wrong.

According to data from the Russian Federation Central Bank, Russian citizens have up to 25 billion dollars, and one-third of them are probably forged. US dollars make 97.5 percent of all counterfeit currencies in the world. The Russian Interior Ministry said that 42,352 counterfeit dollar notes had been withdrawn in Russia in 2002 - four million dollars, that is. There were 23,000 forgeries registered in 2002, but only 2,700 of them were exposed, since about 60 percent of counterfeit notes had been withdrawn from banks.

Any perfect protection has its perfect way of getting around it. Cocoa beans used to be a Mexican currency centuries ago.  Mexicans cut open the cocoa shells and exchanged real cocoa beans for others beans, then gluing the pods together. Russian forgers have managed to make perfect five-ruble coins: the Russian bank put new five-ruble coins into circulation in January of 1998, and counterfeit coins had appeared already in March. Specialists had to acknowledge that these counterfeit coins were excellent. However, a 100-dollar note  has always been the most popular note for forgers.

Forgers use the same technology for their counterfeit dollar notes: they use the same printing methods, the same paper, protection elements and even the same watermarks. A well-made counterfeit 100-dollar note can go through any detector. Even American secret services do not know where they come from. The counterfeit money quality has been growing recently. Experts say that counterfeit dollar notes have already obtained supreme quality.

However, American manufacturers of money often make mistakes in their production. For example, many authentic dollars have damaged protective magnetic paint. US dollars can be cut or printed improperly. Sometimes one can find dollars in pink and blue hues, as if they were washed with jeans and then pressed. One can also find notes on which one and the same American president has different facial expressions; there is even an official catalogue of such images. It is needless to mention that these facts all complicate law-enforcement bodies' work in finding and withdrawing forged American dollars from circulation. One-third of all dollars in the world are forged. About 50 percent of US dollars that are in circulation in Russia are forged as well. Every fifth forged 100-dollar note can hardly be distinguished from a real one.

M. Vostrikov
Agropromcredit Bank advisor

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Author`s name Olga Savka