French police have dismantled an international crime ring which produced copies of the luxury fashion house's bags, with several Hermès staff in on the act.
A dozen people were arrested by French police last Thursday as part of the dismantling of an international crime ring which produced fake Hermès bags. Two Hermès employees have been dismissed as a result of the probe, according to WWD , but the luxury goods company believes that current members of staff could also be involved.
Starting prices for two of the brand's most iconic bags, the Kelly and the Birkin, start in the several thousand of pounds bracket and are often subject to lengthy waiting lists. Beyoncé Knowles, Kim Kardashian and Victoria Beckham are prominent collectors of said styles.
Police discovered a workshop filled with precious leather skins and estimated that one branch operated by the ring contained sales worth around €18 million (103,479,840 AED).
"This operation concludes a one-year investigation following an Hermès complaint based on clues and abnormal behaviour identified through the house's internal monitoring systems," Hermès said in a statement.
The bust follows a ruling in April in which the Hermès was awarded approximately £63 million after winning their case against 34 counterfeit websites.
Hermès chief executive officer Patrick Thomas recently estimated that eighty per cent of objects sold on the internet under the Hermès name are fakes, a statistic he branded "an absolute disgrace".