Man charged with buying €270,000 worth of jewellery using fake cash

A French man has been charged with buying some €270,000 worth of gold and jewels from a Maltese jeweller with fake banknotes, after an international collaboration between police forces from four nations

A French man has been charged with buying some €270,000 worth of gold and jewels from a Maltese jeweller with fake banknotes, after an international collaboration between police forces from four nations.

Brindo Jovanovic, 24, a car dealer from Marseille in France was arrested in Finland on the strength of an EAW and extradited to Malta on January 13.

This afternoon, he appeared before magistrate Yana Micallef Stafrace on criminal conspiracy, counterfeiting banknotes and fraud charges.

The court was told how a warrant for Jovanovic’s arrest was issued after a long and elaborate police investigation spanning an entire year. Inspectors Shaun Friggieri and Colin Sheldon told the court that the police had scrutinised CCTV footage from airports, hotel bookings and mobile phone localisation records over that time, roping in the assistance of foreign police forces in the UK, France and Switzerland.

The accused pleaded not guilty. Bail was requested by his lawyers Robert Dingli and Nicole Sultana, who said that he was cooperating with the prosecution, but their request was opposed by the prosecution, who argued that he had no residence in Malta, having been brought here under arrest and that there was the fear that he would communicate with others involved with the crime.

Lawyer Franco Debono, appearing parte civile for Azzopardi Jewellers, told the court that the €270,000 bill was still outstanding.

The court denied bail, as the man had no address in Malta, also issuing a freezing order over all his assets.

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