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ECB withdrew 565,000 counterfeit euro notes in 2006

The European Central Bank withdrew 565,000 counterfeit euro banknotes from circulation last year, down 2.4% from 2005.

The 20-euro note remained the most popular with forgers, accounting for 36% of the 265,000 notes taken out of the world economy in the second half of last year, the Frankfurt-based bank said in a report issued on Friday.

31% of the notes withdrawn were 50-euro notes. The central bank „continues to advise the public to be alert and to check the authenticity of banknotes they receive,” the report said. The ECB said 10.6 billion genuine notes were issued in the H2 of last year. 98% of the counterfeit currency was found in the 13 nations that share the euro, the report said.

The number of counterfeit euro coins removed from circulation last year was nearly 164,000, up 62% from the prior year, the European Commission said in a separate report on Friday. The most-counterfeited denomination is the €2 coin, accounting for 86% of the total counterfeits in 2006, it said. There are 69 billion genuine euro coins in circulation, according to the commission, the European Union's executive arm. (Bloomberg)