Spanish police announced Thursday that they had dismantled a network accused of having falsified works by the British artist Banksy, sold in Catalonia but also abroad, and in particular in the United States, for prices of up to 1,500 euros. Four people were arrested in this case: the two managers of the workshop where the Banksy fakes were made and two others “knowing the world of art”, accused of having put these counterfeits on sale, said in a press release the regional police of Catalonia, the Mossos d’Esquadra.

According to the press release, the works were sold in specialized stores, in auction houses in Barcelona, ​​as well as on websites. The four people accused are accused of fraud and crimes against intellectual property, the press release specifies.

Also readStreet art: Banksy and the 40 thieves, another legend?

According to Catalan police, at least 25 works spray-painted on cardboard were sold “in Spain, Germany, Switzerland, the United States and Scotland.” The amount of this scam amounts to “10,000 euros”, she specifies. The Mossos d’Esquadra specify that they launched their investigation in mid-2023, after detecting false works attributed to the mysterious graffiti artist Banksy on online sales platforms.

This investigation led them to a workshop in Zaragoza, in the region of Aragon, neighboring Catalonia, where “a couple of young fans of Banksy’s urban art and with economic problems created the works”, details the press release. The couple sold their counterfeits for 80 euros to the people responsible for distributing them, who obtained false certificates of authenticity to increase the price and offer them at points of sale. The investigation is still ongoing and further arrests are not excluded, Catalan police added.

An enigmatic artist, Banksy is known worldwide for his murals and stencil works, which fetch tens of millions of euros on the art market. He has concealed his identity since the start of his career. In addition to the works exhibited in local museums and traveling exhibitions, Spain has a permanent exhibition in Barcelona at the Museu Banksy.