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NEWS

Short Update: German prosecutors investigate fraud in connection with COVID-19 emergency relief

FT Admin - June 9, 2020 - COVID-19 Updates, New criminal offences

The Financial Intelligence Unit ("FIU") of the German customs authorities has received around 4,400 suspicious activity reports relating to the COVID-19 pandemic in just 7 wees, 3,600 of which related to possible fraudulently obtained governmental emergency relief ("Soforthilfe"). This emerges from the Federal Government's answer to a minor question ("Kleine Anfrage") entitled "Current developments in organised crime in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic".  

According to the FIU, it was still unclear whether organised crime gangs were behind the fraud in relation to COVID-19 emergency relief or individual perpetrators who just wanted to take advantage of the opportunity. This will become clear through investigation proceedings, which are now being conducted by public prosecutors all over Germany.  

According to the German Ministry of the Interior, there was no sign of a substantial increase in cybercrime, such as online blackmail or serious hacker attacks, which experts warn of in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic (see FAZ press article dated 8 June 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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