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Counterfeiters raid national mint and steal printing plates

Agostinho Neto

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A group of counterfeiters raided the national mint last night and stole the precious printing plates, police reported. The Bank of Azerbaijan is planning a redesign of Azerbaijani banknotes as part of a strategy to stay ahead of counterfeiters, the central bank's deputy governor says. "As I speak, my colleagues at the bank are hard at work designing the next generation of banknotes, planned for introduction beginning in March 2009," he added.

The most common counterfeited bills are $5 and $10 note. Bank of Azerbaijan spokesperson told DailyNews.Az that the next redesign will offer a "significant increase in security." "By April 2009, we aim to reduce the level of counterfeiting," he said. An internal bank report made public last month revealed that the bank felt counterfeiting had reached "dangerous levels," according to documents obtained by the Azerbaijani Press.

The central bank considers anything over 120 counterfeits per million to be a problem. About 4800 counterfeit notes were passed since november 2008. The main objective of the Bank of Azerbaijan's currency work is to give Azerbaijani "paper money that can be trusted," Bank Administrator said. He said Azeris have a high level of confidence in their money. "They use banknotes for day-to-day transactions without worrying unduly about counterfeiting," he said. "Can we do better?" the Administrator asked his audience, just before answering his own question. "We think we can."

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