Bank of Israel Sues Shekel Counterfeiters for Copying Notes

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(Bloomberg) -- The Bank of Israel has sued two people convicted of printing and distributing counterfeit shekels for violating the central bank’s copyright, in what the Justice Ministry said was the first civil lawsuit of its kind.

The suit, which was filed by the State Attorney’s office, seeks damages of 400,000 shekels ($111,000) from the two counterfeiters, who were convicted of printing tens of thousands of shekels worth of fake 200 shekel bills.

The counterfeiters “copied the original bills of the bank, including their original graphic design, and duplicated them to sell and distribute them,” the ministry said. While the counterfeiters received a jail sentence and a fine in the criminal case against them, the civil suit seeks to redress the violation of the banks’ rights, just as other criminal victims may be entitled to compensation, the ministry said.

“The State Attorney’s office sees great importance in the use of civil tools as an addition to the core criminal process,” the Justice Ministry said in an emailed statement. Law enforcement agencies will continue to use these tools in similar cases in the future, in order to deter criminals from violating the central bank’s copyright, the statement said.

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