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Police detect close to 20,000 falsely labelled bottles in major strike against counterfeiting of Malaga wines
Crime

Police detect close to 20,000 falsely labelled bottles in major strike against counterfeiting of Malaga wines

The gang allegedly marketed a lower-quality product from La Rioja as a superior wine from Malaga province with a recognised and protected designation of origin

Europa Press

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Tuesday, 12 March 2024, 18:06

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Police in Spain are investigating three people after detecting an alleged fraud ring involving 18,400 bottles of falsely labelled wine from La Rioja, that they claimed to be from Malaga. The trio are believed to be responsible for financial fraud amounting to 227,000 euros.

The scheme allegedly involved marketing a lower-quality wine from La Rioja, specifically as a product with a recognised and protected designation of origin (PDO) - specifically from Sierra de Málaga and Pasas de Málaga.

A complaint from representatives of those areas then sparked a police investigation which also discovered the alleged unauthorised sale of certain bottles of white wine on which a 'Manilva' label appeared prominently, also being a PDO and reserved only for those registered with the regulatory council.

Comprehensive investigations were carried out on more than a 1,000 labels from wine bottles which allowed the police to discover the packaging of the fraudulent wines had been carried out by bottling plants based in La Rioja and most of them had been sold through online platforms that specialised in wines.

An analysis of the bottles purchased from one of these websites by food control authorities determined the wine had not been made with 100% Muscat of Alexandria grapes as required, they had instead used grapes from La Rioja.

As part of Operation Utrem, three people have been investigated, accused of crimes against industrial property, document falsification - related both to the market and consumers - and fraud.

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