ICE, Europol Seize 328 Domains Selling Counterfeit Products

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Europol recently announced that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and several law enforcement agencies in Europe coordinated by Europol have sized 328 domain names that were being used to selling counterfeit merchandise online.

As part of the operation, called both Operation In Our Sites (IOS) and Transatlantic Two, HSI seized 177 domain names, while Europol seized another 151.

European member states involved in the operation included Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, France, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Romania, Spain and the UK.

"It is important to stop the sale of counterfeit products over the internet as it undermines legitimate businesses and also often causes health and safety risks to consumers," Europol director Rob Wainwright said in a statement. "This successful transatlantic operation sends an important message to the criminals showing them that they cannot hide despite the fact that they are operating via the Internet."

Official also identified PayPal accounts that were being used by the Web sites, and identified proceeds in excess of $30,000 that are currently being targeted for seizure by HSI field offices.

"American Icon/Transatlantic Two is a great example of the tremendous cooperation between ICE, our international partners at the IPR Center and the Department of Justice," IPR Center deputy director Mark Witzal said in a statement. "In order to go after these criminals who are duping unsuspecting shoppers all over the world, these international partnerships are vitally important."