French consulate staff sacked in visa scam

16th August 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Aug 16, 2006 (AFP) - Seven officials at the French consulate in Moscow have been sacked or have resigned following the discovery of a visa scam in the city, the French foreign ministry said Wednesday.

PARIS, Aug 16, 2006 (AFP) - Seven officials at the French consulate in Moscow have been sacked or have resigned following the discovery of a visa scam in the city, the French foreign ministry said Wednesday.

"Following an internal investigation, three officials were dismissed and four have tendered their resignations," foreign ministry spokesman Denis Simonneau told a news conference.

While the officials are not suspected of full-blown visa trafficking, "funds were in certain cases misappropriated due to anomalies in the handling of some applications," the spokesman said.

A separate foreign ministry investigation was to be carried out in Moscow, he said.

A French embassy source in Moscow Tuesday told AFP that several consular officials were suspected of taking bribes to speed up the delivery of visas, which had slowed because of increased demand.

For several years, the officials had been pocketing between 10 and 20 times the official 35 euro (45 dollar) cost of a French visa, the source said.

Last year France issued more visas in Russia than any other European country, 272,000 in all -- a 10 percent increase from the previous year and double the number in 2000.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

0 Comments To This Article