A manhunt is underway in Germany for a man accused of selling hundreds of thousands of bottles of white wine and champagne to unsuspecting customers in an attempt to get them to buy Christmas presents.
Police in the eastern city of Bremen said on Monday they seized a total of 1.65 million bottles and 2.6 tons of champagne during the investigation into the alleged sales of the items.
The bottles are valued at up to 1.1 million euros ($1.2 million), the Bremens state police said in a statement.
Police have been looking into the possible sale of the products since March, when a 31-year-old German man was arrested and charged with selling the items for illegal profits.
The German government has stepped up security around Christmas celebrations as well as in the wake of the November 2015 attacks in Paris.
In a video message released by the Federal Office for Drugs and Drug Addiction (Bundesstelle), Berlin Mayor Dieter Reiter said that he was concerned by the alleged sale of counterfeit products during the celebrations.
He also said that authorities were working with the state police to investigate whether the bottles were counterfeit or not.
“The sale of these products is a serious breach of the law,” he said.
Police are also investigating the possible involvement of German intelligence services.
The country is set to hold its biggest celebration of Christmas this year, which will be held on December 25.
The country will be the first to celebrate Christmas on December 23.
The Bremains state police are now asking anyone with information on the suspected sale of wine to contact them.