Traunstein (TEH) – An international, million-dollar scam with non-existent respiratory masks has been discovered by investigators from Bavaria. The Traunstein public prosecutor’s office said the injuries were to two sales companies based in Hamburg and Zurich, and were to supply around ten million masks to the state of North Rhine-Westphalia for just under 15 million euros. The managing director of the two companies comes from the Upper Bavarian town of Traunstein. According to the announcement, the companies had already made a down payment of around 2.4 million euros to the supposed delivery companies after the perpetrators’ clever deception.
When the masks did not arrive as planned, the managing director filed a complaint on March 30. Apparently still in time: More than two million of the transferred money have now been discovered and frozen in accounts abroad, the prosecutor reported. North Rhine-Westphalia had already paid – around 14.7 million euros to the Swiss sales company. Of this, 12.3 million euros had already been repaid, NRW Minister of Health Karl-Josef Laumann (CDU) assumes, according to Tuesday, that the country has not suffered any financial damage.
In addition, the minister said at the request of the German press agency: “The process shows: The market for protective equipment has essentially collapsed and there are sometimes wild-west manners with criminal activities.” According to the announcement, the managing director had offers for the fraudsters in mid-March Get protective masks. The state government in Dusseldorf was very interested and ordered around ten million pieces. The goods were to be handed over in the Netherlands via several European middlemen.
According to the investigators, around 52 delivery vehicles were already ready to bring the much-needed protective masks from the Netherlands to North Rhine-Westphalia, even with police escorts from the border in Germany. Investigations are still ongoing in several countries. The perpetrators have hijacked the identity of a company in other European countries, the prosecutor reported.
She did not provide any further details for reasons of investigation. In Traunstein, a special department of the public prosecutor’s office is involved in the prosecution of cross-border crime, the so-called Traunstein model. Officials from the criminal police and investigative authorities in several European countries are also deployed.