Nine people – six Ukrainians, three Moldovans – were arrested and imprisoned after an investigation carried out since July 2020 by the Central Office for the Suppression of Irregular Immigration and the Employment of Untitled Foreigners.
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Two illegal immigration channels, one Ukrainian and the other Moldovan, were dismantled in early April in Seine-et-Marne, after having embezzled at least one million euros in allowances for asylum seekers. Nine people – six Ukrainians, three Moldovans – were arrested and imprisoned following an investigation conducted since July 2020 by the Central Office for the Suppression of Irregular Immigration and the Employment of Foreigners Without a Title (Ocriest).
The modus operandi was to bring in by bus asylum seekers from Ukraine and Moldova, attracted by a better life in France. On the spot, the migrants were housed in makeshift boxes fitted out in former warehouses of disused factories in the department, such as in Dammarie-lès-Lys and Emerainville, where a large Ukrainian and Moldovan community lives.
A telephone and assistance were then provided to them to submit their asylum application to the prefecture, giving them the right to a payment card credited with the amount of the asylum seekers allowance (ADA), i.e. 420 euros per month for a adult. “The network then forwarded the migrants, sometimes by force, to Ukraine and Moldova while keeping their cards for the duration of the asylum procedure, usually six to eight months”, detailed the head of Ocriest, Xavier Delrieu. In total, Ocriest estimated that the network had thus recovered 500 ADA cards, i.e. “between 1 and 1.2 million euros embezzled”.