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Spanish police said on Friday they had arrested four people and seized 160,000 euros (190,000 dollars) in fake coins in breaking up the biggest money-forging racket since the introduction of the single European currency on January 1, 2002.
Three of the four were Italian, police said, adding that they had also confiscated several metal presses used to make what they described as "technically perfect" two-euro coins.
A total of 80,000 coins marked with Spanish, Italian and German devices were found in a villa at Torremuelle, on Spain's Costa del Sol, together with 17 kilograms (37 pounds weight) of old 500-peseta coins which police said were probably used as raw material.
Although they ceased to be legal tender more than two years ago, the old coins had a face value equivalent to three euros.