AR$55.64-million worth of counterfeit clothing was seized from 71 stores across Buenos Aires and Entre Ríos last week (US$284,333 at the official exchange rate).
Authorities investigating an alleged counterfeit fashion ring seized 25,000 imitations of Puma, Nike, Adidas, Calvin Klein, Polo, Tommy Hilfiger and Disney, sources within Customs told the Herald. They also raided a printing plant, confiscating machines they used for forging the tags.
Prosecutor Hernán Viri is in charge of the investigation which is looking to prosecute the group for potentially violating the Trademark Law, which protects copyrighted brands. According to Customs sources, investigators are still working to determine whether the clothes were produced in Argentina or illegally imported and labeled locally.
Items produced by the alleged ring were seized in Buenos Aires City and the Greater Buenos Aires area, as well as in eight cities of the Entre Ríos province – Gualeguaychú, San José, Victoria, Colón, Rosario del Tala, Diamante, Paraná, and Concepción del Uruguay.
The General Customs board, the General Tax Board, the Federal Police, and the National Border Police participated in the raids.
Counterfeit fashion is not uncommon in Argentina and this is not the first time authorities raid stores or workshops dedicated to its manufacture. In September, the Airport Police seized almost 5,000 fake Adidas and Nike clothing items in the Buenos Aires province, which were sold in La Salada, one of the biggest fairs in South America that specializes in trading imitation items.
Last year’s inflation rate in the country was 94.8% and clothing prices saw a 120.8% price increase — the largest of all economic sectors. Virtually no salary rose as much, meaning Argentines need to get creative just to get dressed.