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French police arrest actress Catherine Deneuve’s grandson as mafia counterfeiting gang smashed

European police have dismantled a counterfeit money printing gang with links to a mafia clan, arresting 44 people, including a grandson of French acting icon Catherine Deneuve.

French police arrest actress Catherine Deneuve's grandson as mafia counterfeiting gang smashed
The gang linked to the Italian mafia had produced millions of fake fifty-euro notes. Photo: AFP

Igor Divetain was one of three suspects arrested in France, a source close to the case said.

Forty suspects were also arrested in Italy, and one in Belgium in the culmination of a years-long investigation coordinated by policing agency Europol, according to France's OCRFM, the branch of the police force dealing with counterfeiting.

Police also seized €8 million in cash and the same value in property.

The group had ties to the Camorra mafia clan of southern Italy, said the OCRFM.

They are suspected of having produced counterfeit money, mainly 50-euro notes, with a face value of some €10 million.

“For several years now, 90 percent of high-quality counterfeit currency (in circulation) has come from Italy,” Eric Bertrand of the OCRFM told AFP.

“The Camorra have a sort of monopoly on this market.”

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Timbre fiscal: Everything you need to know about France’s finance stamps

If you're doing a French admin task, you might be asked to provide a 'timbre fiscale' - here's what these are and how to get them.

Timbre fiscal: Everything you need to know about France's finance stamps

In France, you can buy  a very particular kind of stamp to cover the cost of a titre de séjour, or French passport, to pay your taxes, get an ID card if you’re eligible, or pay for your driving licence.

Basically a timbre fiscale is a way of paying a fee to the government, and some online processes – such as the tax offices – now have the more modern method of a bank transfer or card payment.

However there are plenty of official tasks that still demand a timbre fiscale.

In the pre-internet days, this was a way of sending money safely and securely to the government and involved an actual physical stamp – you bought stamps to the value of the money you owned, stuck them onto a card and posted them to government office.

They could be used for anything from paying your taxes to fees for administrative processes like getting a new passport or residency card.

These days the stamps are digital. You will receive, instead, either a pdf document with a QR code that can be scanned from a phone or tablet, or an SMS with a unique 16-digit figure. Both will be accepted by the agency you are dealing with.

Once you have the code you need, you can add this to any online process that requires timbre fiscaux (the plural) and that will complete your dossier.

You can buy them from a properly equipped tabac, at your nearest trésorerie, or online

Paper stamps remain available in France’s overseas départements, but have been gradually phased out in mainland France.

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