An employee of the Swedish Migration board is facing scrutiny and charges after being accused of handing out false visas to 121 Afghan migrants.
The employee, who has not been identified, is said to have started working for the agency in the mid-2000s but prosecutors say that he likely carried out his crimes while working temporarily at the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Aftonbladet reports.
He had already been dismissed from working at the Migration Board in 2017 after a previous investigation found that he had changed nine rejected visa application to acceptances and had given another 14 visas that should not have been approved.
Prosecutor Arne Fors said that the man is suspected of working with others in a potential people smuggling network and that two other suspects, neither of which worked at the Migration Board, were arrested in connection with the accusations.
“The principal suspect is suspected of gross misconduct, the others for helping with that crime,” Fors said and went on to add, “There are 121 cases that are about right now.”
Whether or not the main suspect was receiving financial compensation for the visas is unclear as Fors said that he did not want to speculate as investigations were still ongoing.
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The prosecutor added that 21 of the Afghans applied for a travel visa claiming a company had invited them to a tennis tournament but according to the Migration Board, the invites were clearly forgeries and should have been recognised as such.
The lawyer for the suspect said the man denies any crimes and said his client simply did not check the invitations clearly enough.
Visas and residency permits granted under false pretexts have been an issue in several European countries in recent years.
In France, police were able to bust a ring of migrants from the Ivory Coast who were helping to forge identity documents to allow other migrants to claim to be underage asylum seekers, costing taxpayers nearly a million euros.
In 2017, several French doctors, along with four pro-migrant activists, were indicted on similar charges, after being accused of forging medical certificates to help asylum seekers remain in the country.