suspects arrested operated from Israel, 54 million hijacked

In November 2020, the Paris prosecutor’s office estimated the short-time working fraud at 182 million euros, of which only 54 million had actually been misappropriated, the rest having been blocked before payment. The investigation, which relates to suspicions of “laundering tens of millions of shekels using complex mechanisms” of cryptocurrency, focuses on a “large-scale fraud targeting the French Treasury” carried out from Israel, according to the police, who did not detail the identity of the suspects.

A source close to the case indicated that it was a massive fraud in partial unemployment during the Covid-19 pandemic in France, a complex case with multiple ramifications instructed in Paris at the National Court in charge of the fight against organized crime (Junalco).

Confinement

The investigation, entrusted since 2020 to the gendarmes of the Toulouse research section and the Central Office against illegal work (OCLTI), has made it possible to draw the modus operandi of the crooks.

The latter took advantage of the fact that the French government extended, from the confinement and to compensate for the resulting cessation of activity, the possibility of resorting to partial unemployment and compensating employees. Fraudsters usurped the corporate name and identification number of existing businesses to claim compensation.

In June 2021, a man living in the Paris region was arrested on suspicion of belonging to a criminal organization based in Israel at the origin of more than 7,000 false requests for partial unemployment compensation for a total damage to the State around 11 million euros. The investigators had brought to light “accounts opened in France, and rebound accounts opened afterwards which allow the money to pass quickly” to reintegrate it into the legal economy.

In recent years, several Franco-Israelis have been arrested by the Israeli authorities in cases of fraud. In December 2021, Israel extradited two Franco-Israelis accused of fraud, suspected of having obtained money from companies and private individuals under cover, in particular, of promoting medical research projects linked to Covid-19.

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