Italian Authorities Close Down 400+ Websites Selling Fake Luxury Goods

With Milan Fashion Week in full swing, and the world’s top designers showcasing their spring/summer 2016 collections. Italian authorities have closed down over 400 websites selling fake luxury goods including Prada handbags and Patek Philippe watches and launched raids against counterfeiters nationwide.

Italy the epicenter of luxury fashion, has long battled with counterfeiters who churn out low-quality copies of the upmarket clothes and accessories that contribute some 60 billion euros a year to its economy.

Reuters reports, fifteen people who ran websites are being investigated, prosecutors said at a news conference in Rome. The raids were conducted in 11 cities, from Milan in the north to Palermo, the main city on the southern island of Sicily, as part of a broader crackdown on counterfeit goods.

The danger posed by counterfeit goods to the Italian high fashion industry are plentiful, they don't just cut into sales; they sabotage the exclusive image and brand of the company. Luxury goods companies spend millions to create “an aura of exclusivity” around their products, which is difficult to maintain if counterfeit goods unlawfully using a luxury fashion houses trademark become easy to purchase. Which also can have negative effects on the economy…,” police said in a statement.