Five medical doctors and four pro-migrant activists have been indicted on charges relating to the issue of fake medical certificates to asylum seekers to keep them in France.
The fake certificates are alleged to have cost French taxpayers 3.9 million euros in total. Along with the five doctors, the presidents of two pro-migrant humanitarian organisations, as well as two more middlemen, have been brought up on charges of assisting criminals gangs, fraud, and breaches of trust, Le Figaro reports.
According to a police source, the investigators found “that this network had been raging since at least 2012 with the complicity of the chairmen of associations and middlemen, allowing foreigners from West Africa and the Maghreb in an irregular situation to stay in France by arguing they had the status of sick people”.
The pro-migrant organisations would be contacted by rejected asylum seekers and would be paid up to 5,000 euros per request for a medical certificate. The money would then be shared between them, the doctors — including three psychiatrists — and the middlemen.
The doctors issued hundreds of fake certificates and were able to bill French health insurance for consultations that never occurred.
The numbers involved were significant, with one doctor claiming to have seen as many as 800 requests in one day, and 27,000 over the period of a year.
Another doctor was able to overcharge French health insurance a total of 867 times and investigators were able to seize 489,000 euros, four apartments worth around 1.28 million euros, various luxury items, and two cars in connection with the case.
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The network is not the first time doctors have been accused of handing out false medical certificates to migrants. Last year in Germany, Federal Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière accused medical professionals of writing up false medical notes to prevent deportations.
Pro-migrant activists have been accused of dirty dealings in regards to getting migrants into Europe as well.
For example, the Italian government released evidence earlier this year which they said proved “rescue” ships operated by pro-migrant NGOs in the Mediterranean were working alongside people-smugglers.
Pro-migrant groups have been accused of similarly questionable actions in Greece as well.