Multi-million-dollar counterfeit Birkin ring revealed to be run by Hermes STAFF as police bust global knock-off operation
21:16 GMT, 15 June 2012
Luxury design house, Herms has finally caught the people responsible for peddling imitation bags – and some of them work at the company.
Using internal monitoring systems, Herms along with the French national police, spent a year watching out for clues and any abnormal behaviour.
Two individuals have now been fired though several others who remain working for the design house
are suspected to be involved.
The real deal Hermes has finally caught up to the counterfeit ring that has cost the country and the company millions of dollars with the sale of fake goods
The surveillance was part of an investigation into the international crime ring that robs the brand of millions of dollars every year.
During the raid, police found clandestine workshops bursting at the seams with precious leather skins for making the counterfeit accessories.
The ring that has distribution outlets in Europe, the U.S. and Asia, is thought to be able to generate $22million through one branch alone.
The Paris public prosecutor told WWD: 'Herms is very satisfied with the efficient and diligent collaboration established with the national gendarmerie in this case and reiterates its relentless commitment to fighting counterfeiting.
'This action puts an end to the fraudulent project in progress.'
According to the French National Anti-Counterfeiting Committee, Herms is not the only victim of such a racket which costs France $7.5billion in lost revenue annually.
Shock horror: Two of the company's own employees were involved in the racket and have been dismissed
In response to the threat, French luxury goods association Comit
Colbert has already taken action to raise awareness of the issue by
launching a campaign with playful slogans such as: 'Buy a fake Cartier,
get a genuine criminal record' and 'Real ladies don't like fake.'
The ads are to remind travellers passing through the country's airports of the zero-tolerance approach the police has towards the buying and selling of fake luxury products.
With its iconic Birkin bag and extravagant silk scarves, Herms is a popular brand name for counterfeiters.
Herms CEO Patrick Thomas' attempts to have internet providers, search engines and social media sites held accountable for facilitating the sale of fake goods seems to be paying off however, even if slowly.
A U.S. court recently ordered 34 websites offering imitation Herms items to pay the company $100million in compensation.
'Eighty percent of objects sold on the Internet under the Herms name are fakes,' he fumed. 'It's an absolute disgrace.'