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VIDEO. Hundreds of millions of state aid vanished: who are the Covid fraudsters?



A year ago, to save businesses threatened by the health crisis, an exceptional and massive system of partial unemployment was introduced by the state. Simplified administrative procedures, payment of aid in 48 hours … the fraudsters stepped into the breach, and hundreds of millions of euros of aid were said to have been diverted between March and September 2020.

Journalists from the magazine obtained a confidential document, the result of two weeks of investigation by the labor inspectorate. It lists around sixty companies suspected of fraud. The sums they have already received for partial unemployment and their new claims are indicated, and, in a last column, the reasons why these companies are suspicious: some are deleted from the commercial register, others no longer pay their social contributions or have no employees. Who are these Covid scammers?

The pavilion serves as a letterbox, the entrepreneur has disappeared without leaving an address …

The journalist draws at random from the list of the labor inspectorate. It only includes small SMEs: construction companies, small restaurants, companies of taxi drivers. Among them, this car rental company which claims to have 10 employees and has obtained more than 44,000 euros for partial unemployment. However, it is struck off the registry, so it no longer has a legal existence. While going to the address indicated, in Seine-Saint-Denis, north of Paris, the journalist comes across a small pavilion. From a neighbor, she learns that it is uninhabited, but that the mail is collected regularly. The pavilion which serves as a letterbox, the business manager who disappeared without leaving an address … There is no doubt that these 44,000 euros paid by the State were really used to compensate employees …

The journalist then goes to the headquarters of a second company on the list. Created on the eve of confinement, it would do road transport and claims to have 9 employees … although it has never declared them. However, she has already received 85,000 euros. At the address indicated, no sign, no truck or goods, but an apartment building …

Excerpt from “Whatever it costs? Investigation of the Covid crooks”, a document to be seen in “Further investigation” on April 8, 2021.

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