German migration official investigated for granting asylum in exchange for bribes

A German migration official is suspected of having granted asylum to some 1,200 migrants in exchange for bribes. Germany’s migration agency has been under intense scrutiny since the arrival of over million refugees in 2015.

A former official of Germany’s Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) is under investigation over allegations that she, along with four others, accepted bribes from some 1,200 refugees in exchange for granting them asylum.

The director of BAMF’s regional Bremen office allegedly accepted hundreds of asylum applicants, mostly from Syria’s Yazidi minority, who may not have otherwise fulfilled the necessary criteria.

What we know so far

  • Bremen’s prosecution service announced on Friday that six people were under investigation for the alleged corruption and bribery that took place in the state’s regional migration office.
  • Besides the former director of the Bremen migration office, three lawyers, an interpreter and an intermediary are also targeted in the investigation.
  • The suspects allegedly ensured that asylum seekers were deliberately taken to the migration office in Bremen to have their applications filed.
  • Authorities raided eight locations in Bremen and Lower Saxony on Wednesday and Thursday, including several legal chambers.

‘Gang-style inducement’ at Germany’s migration offices

  • A spokeswoman for the Bremen public prosecutor said the six suspects were under investigation for “gang-style inducement to make improper applications for asylum.”
  • The spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Steffen Seibert, refused to speculate what consequences the incident could have for the country’s migration offices. These “extremely serious allegations” first have to be resolved, he said.
  • Social Democratic lawmaker Burkhard Lischka called for a “comprehensive explanation” from the government and insisted that it releases its findings ahead of the next meeting of Interior Ministry officials.
  • Linda Teuteberg from the Free Democrats said the coalition government “reacted far too late to the warning signs from the BAMF following the opening of the country’s borders in the autumn of 2015.” There was evidently going to be room for abuse and corruption, she added.

dm/msh (dpa, AP, AFP)

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