Friday, May 20

Illegal immigration: 41 million euros laundered in the construction industry

Ten members of the Pakistani community have been indicted on suspicion of having participated in an employment network of undocumented workers and of having withdrawn several million euros from the legal economy in two years via several shell companies .

It was the trail of false papers that led the suspects to their losses. In June 2020, information on suspicious packages alerted the police. En masse, falsified documents arrive from Pakistan via Turkey and Greece.

In the boxes, papers corresponding to mistakenly the official documents of countries of the Schengen area and in particular for France, passports, identity cards, residence permits.

In the end, enough to allow the maintenance on French territory of irregular immigrants from Pakistan. Exploring this lead, investigators from Ocriest (Central Office for the Suppression of Irregular Immigration and the Employment of Undocumented Foreigners) and OCRGDF (Central Office for the Suppression of Serious Financial Crime) put uncovered a network of illegal workers operating in Ile-de-France in the construction sector.

They then discover about twenty legal companies that collect the money from the construction sites. But behind, the criminals have set up a myriad of so-called “taxi” companies, making it possible to redirect the funds to nearly 200 bank accounts opened with false papers.

Enough to allow the disbursement of funds, and to get the money out of the legal circuit to covertly pay the illegal workers and send the rest of the earnings abroad.

Two brothers in the viewfinder

The police suspect two brothers of being at the head of this network of around ten people who, according to the first elements of the investigation, made it possible to launder 41 million euros between 2019 and 2021.

“It is a hyper-lucrative business which worked on the exploitation of a work force to thank you and silent because in illegal situation”, explains to CNEWS a source close to the file. “These financial arrangements are common in this construction industry. It shows the porosity between money laundering networks and illegal immigration.

Among the ten individuals indicted in particular for laundering of concealed work, employment of foreigners without title and forgery and use of false administrative documents in an organized gang, some were known to the police and justice for similar acts.

Of Pakistani origin, aged 30 to 40, they were placed in pre-trial detention while the investigations continued.

The suspects were arrested on January 10 in Val-d’Oise and Seine-Saint-Denis, in Argenteuil in particular, Sevran, Le Bourget and Tremblay-en-France. During the search, the investigators seized 157 false identity documents as well as 120 fraudulent means of payment.

The police also found 134,000 euros in cash, seized a million euros from around forty bank accounts, but also four vehicles including a Maserati.

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