A person in the Kurdistan Region uses a marker to detect counterfeit bills. File photo: Rudaw
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — More than 100 people charged with dealing with counterfeit currencies have been arrested in Erbil province in the last 11 months.
"Since the beginning of 2018, Erbil police in coordination with the Asayesh [Security] have confiscated a huge amount of counterfeit currencies," said Hogir Aziz, spokesperson for the Erbil Police Department, on Tuesday.
They’ve seized an estimated 88 million dinars, $4.1 million, and more than 800,000 euros.
Aziz said after 20 complaints were filed "more than 100 people were arrested, many of whom have had their cased decided on by the court."
Kamal Sdiq owns a shop in Sulaimani. He explained customers have used counterfeit dollars and Iraqi dinars multiple times.
"Sometimes I did not detect they were counterfeit as I might have been busy with customers. But when I wanted to use them to buy things, they detected that the counterfeit banknotes are different from the original ones," Sdiq said, urging the government and relevant parties to capture all those involved.
Erbil and Sulaimani currency exchange markets easily detect counterfeit currencies as they use advanced bill counters.
"Most of the counterfeits are the Iranian rial and Iraq's 25,000 note (about $21) as they are valuable. Most of the time tourists bring them," said Peshawa Chngiani, the owner of a currency exchange.
A new series of 25,000, 10,000, 1000, 500, 250 dinar notes entered circulation in October. The Central Bank of Iraq says it does not plan to recall old banknotes. Iraq also has a 50,000 dinar note, but it is more difficult to counterfeit because of improved safeguards.