Italy busts fake champagne makers with thousands of 'Moet' bottles

Tue Feb 2, 2016 7:25am EST
 
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ROME (Reuters) - Police have seized hundreds of thousands of euros worth of fake champagne in a workshop near Padua, northern Italy, with counterfeiters looking to pass off sparkling wine as Moet & Chandon.

Eight people face charges but no one has been taken into custody, police said, after they found 9,200 bottles of prosecco and a machine used to make the metallic wrappers that cover the top of the bottles.

As well as the already-labelled bottles, which would have fetched about 350,000 euros ($380,000), police said in a statement they found a further 40,000 labels which, if used, could have taken the illicit earnings to more than 1.8 million.

"The system was very detailed and specialized," said Lieutenant Colonel Luca Lettere, noting that police were investigating whether the people involved had counterfeited other luxury goods.

"They chose champagne because it can be sold for such a high profit. Buying prosecco for one or two euros, they can put it on the market for 35 or 40 euros," he said. "We absolutely cannot rule out that other goods may be involved."

(Reporting by Isla Binnie; Editing by Louise Ireland)