February 13, 2010 / 6:14 PM / 9 years ago

Italy police make huge haul of fake designer goods

Counterfeit branded fashion goods are presented during the annual news conference of the customs duty office at Frankfurt Airport March 21, 2007. REUTERS/Alex Grimm

ROME (Reuters) - A police raid on a sprawling complex of warehouses in Rome turned up about 500,000 tonnes of Chinese goods including fakes of some of the world’s most famous designer labels, Italian police said on Saturday.

The operation, carried out in the past few days and announced on Saturday, was one of the biggest of its kind in Italy, they said.

The merchandise, which included fakes of big name brands, boxes with designer logos, and toys that did not meet European safety standards, was worth at least 5 million euros.

About 70 police agents took part in the raid on the southern outskirts of the city and found some 37 Chinese citizens, some of whom acted as lookouts, on the premises of the complex of eight warehouses.

“Inside we found an amazing number of boxes of name brand goods subdivided by type. All that was missing were the labels which had yet to be put on,” said police official Maurizio Improta.

Television footage provided by police showed fakes or empty boxes with logos of brands such as Salvatore Ferragamo, Calvin Klein, Roberto Cavalli, Armani Jeans and Puma.

“This is one of the biggest ever hauls of counterfeit goods in Italy,” Improta said.

The goods included clothing, furs and spectacles. The merchandise came from China and police said it was possible the complex of warehouses was used as a distribution point for other Italian and European cities.

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