CAIRO: A number of shop owners have reported finding few counterfeit LE 50, 100 and 200 notes.
They said that counterfeit Egyptian currency is currently circulating in the capital and elsewhere.
As he sat down last week to count his cash at the end of the night, Khaled Abu El Yousr, owner of a small grocery store in Maadi, found a suspicious-looking LE 100 note. Concluding it is counterfeit, he then started to guide his assistant on how to track down such notes.
A police officer, who has apparently been assigned to report on these incidents, kept passing by his outlet from time to time asking if he had received any of these notes.
The shop owners interviewed by Daily News Egypt displayed what they believe to be counterfeit currency. The notes were pale and discolored and the image of the Sphinx was distorted.
“As far as I know all the counterfeit money consists of LE 100 notes, said Abu El Yousr. “They are believed to have infiltrated into the country as the starved Gazans raided Rafah ending the Israeli embargo on their city. I am really worried more of these notes would be circulating.
When Palestinians flocked to Sinai markets last month to buy food and fuel supplies, they paid in dollars which the shop-owners discovered later to be fake, the state-run Al Akhbar reported at the time. But none of the reports mentioned that any Egyptian pound notes were used in the deals.
An owner of a telephone shop in Ataba said that he could also track down counterfeit LE 50 and LE 200 notes. “Yes, it happened this morning when a young girl I sent to get me change of LE 100 returned with two forged LE 50 notes.
According to El Maktub Blog, which reported the circulation of counterfeit notes, the staff of the Giza branch of the government-owned Al Ahly Bank has found one LE 100 that they believe to be counterfeit.
When Daily News Egypt contacted the Central Bank, its public relations department said they haven’t received any reports on the counterfeit currency.
The issue has stirred another debate about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. El Maktub Blog said the counterfeit currency, whether Egyptian pounds or American dollars, can be traced back to Israel, not Hamas. Palestinian news agency Mann reported last week that fake sheikel coins were found with school children in Bethalem.