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Short Update: First criminal trial regarding subsidy fraud to obtain Corona emergency aid payments in Berlin

FairTrialsAdmin - July 6, 2020 - COVID-19 Updates, New criminal offences

The first criminal trial regarding subsidy fraud to obtain Corona emergency aid payments ("Corona-Soforthilfe") from the German federal state of Berlin and the federal government began on last Friday in Berlin. The accused is suspected of having unlawfully received a total of EUR 35,000. At the start of the trial, the accused made a confession: On 31 March 2020, he had submitted an application for Corona emergency aid payments to the state-owned Investitionsbank Berlin. One day later, about EUR 5,000 had been credited to his account. According to his own words, he was "surprised that it had happened so quickly and unbureaucratically". So he had used an Internet bank to pretend to have founded other companies and applied for further Corona emergency aid payments. 

According to his defence counsel, the Berlin Senate's economic administration which set up the Corona emergency aid programme had made it very easy to defraud. The Berlin Senate's economic administration explained that in March and April 2020, when the Corona emergency aid was set up, they had "followed the call of the federal government: pay out quickly, control later".  

There are currently 995 investigation proceedings regarding subsidy fraud to obtain Corona emergency aid payments being conducted in Berlin. To date, the Investitionsbank Berlin has regained around EUR 100 million of incorrectly disbursed Corona emergency aid payments (see Berliner Zeitung press article dated 3 July 2020 in German).

We publish information as it is reported to us. If you would like to make us aware of an inaccuracy or send us more information please email us at [email protected].  

If you are a journalist interested in this story, please telephone Fair Trials’ press department on +44 (0) 20 7822 2370 or +32 (0) 2 360 04 71.

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