Article by Mark I Rasskazov, Editor in Chief.
Forget drugs, forget oil, forget wealthy religious extremists — the fiat currency of terrorism is knock-off handbags and bootleg DVDs: so says a source I’ve spoken to who shall remain anonymous. According to this source, these kinds of items, along with knock-off Tiffanys’ jewelry items and other counterfeited luxury items, are the primary means by which criminals and terrorists get their money from «Point A» to «Point B.»
It seems unbelievable. It’s certainly one of the most under-reported aspects of the criminal world, if true.
So I did some research.
Ronald K. Noble of Interpol via the LA Times: «The global trade in counterfeit goods is estimated at $400 billion to $450 billion a year.» Later in the article, he is quoted as saying that: «Counterfeit cigarette trafficking by paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland and profits from counterfeit CDs and other goods being funneled to Hezbollah in the Mideast.»
Hitha Prabhakar, a noted investigative journalist, wrote an entire book on the subject. At the beginning of the book, she quotes a review of it by one Dana Thomas: «Counterfeiting is one of the least-acknowledged, most-damaging crimes of our time. In Black Market Billions, Hitha exposes this nefarious world of the violent syndicates and the crimes they commit—human trafficking, forced child labor, money laundering—and discovers that the profits fund even worse acts such as terrorism. You’ll never look at a fake Louis Vuitton handbag the same way again.»
It seems the issue is important enough to have garnered the attention of Congress, as well.
It has been put to me in the following manner: «You cannot board a cruise ship with more than $9,999.99; if you want to transport $10,000.00, the way you do it: you take a bunch of knock-off hand-bags and sell them to a contact in the destination country. Every time we catch a terrorist, he’s holed up with weapons, explosives, and tens of thousands of bootleg CDs.»
It seems heroin is for amateurs. The pros deal in faux Versace, apparently.