Germany Arrests 10 for Illicitly Providing Residence Permits to Wealthy Foreigners

Опубликовано: 18 Апрель 2024

German Police Car FlickrThe large-scale operation against the criminal group dedicated to trafficking wealthy foreigners was led by the Federal Police Inspectorate of Cologne. (Photo: Simon_sees, Flickr, License)

German authorities conducted searches on Thursday as part of an ongoing operation against a group led by two lawyers who helped wealthy foreigners obtain immigration papers illicitly in exchange for thousands of euros.

The operation began on Wednesday and involved approximately 1,000 police officers conducting searches at over 100 premises across the country. Authorities detained 10 suspects, including the two lawyers and one government employee.

The action continued on Thursday with over 100 new searches and the seizure of 210,000 euros, expensive vehicles, about 300 cell phones, laptops, hard drives, computers, and almost 600 file folders that may contain relevant documents for the case. Nearly 300 bank accounts were frozen, according to the Prosecutor’s Office statement.

The group is suspected of exploiting special provisions for foreign skilled workers to issue residence permits to hundreds of wealthy foreigners, primarily Chinese nationals but also individuals from the Arab region.

Clients paid between 30,000 and 350,000 euros to the lawyers, who then created fictitious companies to employ the clients and issued them salaries on paper. This facilitated their acquisition of residence permits in Germany.

“Yesterday’s and today’s actions can be seen as a complete success,” declared the public prosecutor overseeing the case, Hendrik Timmer.