Silversmith held for coin forgery

A 46-year-old silversmith was being questioned by police in Thessaloniki on Friday for allegedly running a workshop that produced fake gold sovereigns in a bid to profit from the concerns of crisis-weary Greeks fearing a return to the drachma.

According to investigators, the silversmith made hundreds of thousands of euros in exchange for gold-plated coins he is alleged to have produced in a workshop in the northern port city.

Police said they received a tip-off about the workshop from a 67-year-old businessman who claimed to have been swindled by two men who gave him 1,630 counterfeit gold sovereigns in exchange for 280,000 euros.

The 67-year-old went to police after discovering that the coins were fake. A raid on the workshop turned up bars of copper, gold and bronze, metal molds and wax and bronze copies of gold sovereigns.

The 46-year-old faces forgery charges, according to police who are seeking a suspected accomplice.