Bank of Israel sues over counterfeit shekel bills

JERUSALEM, May 9 (Reuters) - Israel is suing two people for violating the Bank of Israel’s copyright when they forged shekel bills, the Justice Ministry and Bank of Israel said.

The suit claims the defendants conspired to commit a series of crimes involving the manufacture and forging of banknotes. It noted that they worked for a number of months to create fake 200 shekel bills worth tens of thousands of shekels.

They were convicted last year of that crime and were fined but the central bank filed a suit, the first of its kind in Israel, as a continuation of criminal proceedings to indemnify it for damages caused as a result of the defendants’ actions. It is seeking 400,000 shekels ($111,015), the ministry said in a statement.

“The suit will send a clear and deterring message that in addition to criminal law, counterfeiters will also face civil lawsuits for significant amounts,” the Bank of Israel said in a separate statement.

“The security features on the new series of banknotes were created with advanced technology and are among the best in the world,” it said. “Counterfeiters have so far been unsuccessful in any attempt to mimic the security features.”

$1 = 3.6031 shekels Reporting by Steven Scheer