Egyptian and Russian staff accused of German visa fraud
Egyptian staff at the German embassy in Cairo are under suspicion of operating a visa racket, the German Foreign Ministry confirmed.
09 December 2007
Berlin (dpa) - Egyptian staff at the German embassy in Cairo are under suspicion of operating a visa racket, the German Foreign Ministry confirmed Saturday after a report in the news magazine Der Spiegel.
Der Spiegel said six Egyptians, plus one Russian employed at the German embassy in Moscow, were accused of visa fraud. The ministry said an internal audit turned up the irregularities.
The staff are alleged to have knowingly accepted bogus documentation from applicants seeking entry to Germany and misled German consular officials into granting visas.
The topic is highly sensitive in Germany after a previous foreign minister, Joschka Fischer, was assailed for not acting fast enough against fraud in Kiev, Ukraine and was grilled by a special parliamentary inquiry.
Der Spiegel said four ministry officials and German federal police were reviewing 50,000 visa applications for more signs of irregularities in Cairo and had found 132 cases among 10,000 checked so far.
In Moscow, one dishonest employee was alleged to have ensured 1,250 applicants improperly obtained visas.
German missions abroad issue about 2.5 million visitor, tourist and other visas annually. Tourists from most western nations are exempt from needing a visa to visit Germany.