Investigators believe at least 250 people applied for travel documents from the plan’s operators, who offered their services to clients in Mali, the Ivory Coast and Cameroon, often through social media.
French border police this week busted an illegal immigration ring that rents original French passports to sub-Saharan African migrants so they can enter the country, a police source said.
The fraud was first exposed in November when border guards at Paris’s main airport stopped a man who had traveled from Mali on a passport he did not have, the source said Thursday. “He told us that he had paid 7,000 euros to travel from Bamako to Paris using a real French identity card,” he said.
And the police revealed the existence of a network in the Paris region recruiting French citizens of foreign origin to “loan” their personal documents for hundreds of euros.
The passports are then either sent to somewhere in Africa by post, or an application for a new passport is submitted from the French authorities with a photo of another person.
Investigators believe that at least 250 people submitted requests for travel documents from the scheme’s operators, who offered their services to clients in Mali, the Ivory Coast, and Cameroon, often through social media, according to the source.
Attempts are under way to establish the identities of those who shared their passports.