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Counterfeit Crimes; Costly Bubbly; And Some Aborigines In Paris

  • September 20th, 2007
  • Posted by Ingrid Rubie

eu-flag-reduced5.pngEurope clamps down, again, on the counterfeiters; worries a little about the supply of bubbly, and welcomes some fresh and contemporary Australian art to Paris.

FUNNY MONEY PROBLEMS – COSTLY SOLUTIONS

Renewed efforts are coming in the fight against counterfeiting of the Euro.

The banknotes and coins of the new currency came under attack from organised counterfeiters soon after their first release in 1999, and although counter-measures have had much success, the European Commission warns that the illicit trade is always introducing more sophisticated techniques.

This week (17.9.07) it adopted measures to strengthen protection of both the paper money and coins – including the much-targeted two-Euro coin, worth about A$3.30 apiece.

The Commission plans to make it mandatory for banks to check the authenticity of any notes and coins they get before letting them back into circulation; making use of existing European law, (amending Regulation 1338/2001 of 28 .6.01)

It has accepted an annual currency report which says Member States of the European Union have been co-operating well, in introducing stiffer criminal penalties against the counterfeiters.

However its Anti-fraud Commissioner, Siim Kallas, said making false currency continued to be a “considerable illegal activity”.

The number of counterfeit Euro coins removed from circulation so far has come to nearly 164 000 pieces, and counterfeits are found throughout the European Union, even where the currency is not yet in use — as well as in some outside countries.

ABORIGINAL ART IN PARIS

Aboriginal art is enjoying a vogue in Paris.

AFP news agency has reported that Australian indigenous art is on show this month at more than half a dozen venues in the city, including the Parcours du Monde, where many galleries and dealers in “primitive art” have been gathering in the heart of the city.

Buyers say they have become aware of the Aboriginal tradition since it was included in the decoration of the new Quai Branly museum last year.

The trend has been reflected in strong prices, at one auction a work by Judy Watson, Napangardi – Wititji-Hairstring Dreaming, was sold for EU 22,200 (A$36100; dcerates.com, 19.9.07).

Keen collectors have been paying EU 600-1500 for art works, with great interest especially in the symbolic dots and lines of abstract compositions.

THE BUBBLY BOTTLE IS ALMOST EMPTY

A world- wide struggle has been forecast among champagne producers wanting to meet escalating demand; a problem that causes renewed tension each year as the Christmas and New Year celebrations approach.

Bertrand Steip of Moet & Chandon told American ABC that growers were “close to the limits” in terms of planting and production.

“That means that in the years to come the amount of champagne produced every year is going to reach the limits and is going to be limited”, he said.

Under French Law, the Champagne growing region is restricted to fewer than a very strictly outlined 388.499 square kilometres.

Then there is the issue of certain producers not selling their bottles – holding on in hopes of a very profitable retirement perhaps.

A solution? Maybe a fresh marketing drive: ‘Abstain from Champagne’.

Reference:

J. Sciutto, “Champagne Production Squeeze — America”, ABC News (USA), 18.9.07. http://abcnews.go.com/WN/story?id=3621632&page=1, (19.9.07).

“French approval for aboriginal art grows” (AFP), ABC Online, 18.9.07. www.abc.net.au/… (19.9.07)

Counterfeit, further information: OLAF (European Anti-fraud Office).
http://europa.eu.int/comm/anti_fraud/pages_euro/index_en.html, (19.9.07)

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