Ruling in a precedent-setting lawsuit against counterfeiters for contravening the Bank of Israel’s intellectual property rights
The Civil Enforcement Unit of the State Attorney’s Office and the Southern District Attorney (Civil) filed a first-of-its-kind suit on behalf of the Bank of Israel against two defendants who were convicted by admission of “counterfeiting a banknote”, for contravening the Bank of Israel’s intellectual property rights. The suit was filed as a continuation of the criminal proceedings, with the objective of indemnifying the Bank of Israel for damages caused due to the defendants’ actions.
The defendants, Yaakov Morsiano and Roi Bar-Eitan, were convicted by the Ashkelon Magistrates Court based on their admission in a plea bargain arrangement, of being an accessory to aggravated fraud and of counterfeiting a banknote and counterfeiting a document. According to the indictment for which they were convicted, during January 2017 the two conspired to commit a series of crimes that involved, among other things, the production and counterfeiting of banknotes. The defendants purchased and obtained specialized counterfeiting equipment and acted for a number of months to counterfeit NIS 200 banknotes totaling tens of thousands of shekels.
Bank of Israel Director General Hezi Kalo said, “This is an important ruling that will deter criminals from counterfeiting banknotes in a way that harms the public and the State. We welcome the cooperation with the State Attorney’s office and the policy, and will continue to protect the public from currency counterfeiters with all the tools at our disposal.”
The State Attorney’s Office stated that, “This is a precedent-setting suit that made use of a civil suit against defendants who were convicted of criminal actions—counterfeiting banknotes. The defendants became “suppliers” of counterfeit money for various fraudulent purposes, contravening the Bank of Israel’s intellectual property rights to the banknotes, in order to generate monetary profit. The Civil Enforcement Unit will continue using civil tools to complement the criminal proceedings in similar cases in the future, in order to enforce the law and deter people from harming the public’s rights.”
The suit was submitted by Attorneys Osnat Dafna of the Civil Enforcement Unit and Antonius Marshi of the Southern District Attorney (Civil) Office, in conjunction with the Bank of Israel.