Mega Bank stated that it lost NT$66 million as it provided currency exchange for counterfeit bills, UDN reported. The Taoyuan branch of the Ministry of Justice Bureau of Investigation found that a group had passed off US$2 million in fake bills during the Chinese New Year holiday. The counterfeit bills were so well produced that Mega Bank exchanged all US$2 million. The hundred dollar bills allegedly passed counterfeit-detection machine tests.
Eight men and one woman have been arrested as suspects in the case. Authorities believe there is another person connected to the case. Prosecutors believe that some of the funds have already been transferred overseas.
The counterfeit US bills were based on older notes that are still in circulation, thus making them easier to fake. Authorities reiterated that banks should double-check authenticity of older US banknotes with the proper US authorities, but Mega Bank allegedly skipped this step. Mega Bank has denied that its staff did not follow the proper process, according to Apple Daily.
The counterfeiters separated their fake currency into two batches at two bank branches in Taipei.
Mega Bank said that it will severely punish those responsible for negligence that led to the exchange of US$2 million in counterfeit currency.
The Money Laundering Control Act stipulates that banks should report exchanges of NT$500,000 or more if money laundering or other illegal activity is suspected.