Thursday, 19 December 2013

The authorities in Germany and The Netherlands assume that welfare payment fraud by relatively wealthy citizens of Turkish origin is widespread.

It works as follows: In Germany (or The Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium), one presents him/herself as being needy and applies for welfare assistance on the grounds of having no means of livelihood. But in reality this person owns considerable assets, particularly real estate.

"We assume that this is a widespread problem, but it is not quantifiable, because there are no statistics for it," a German diplomat in Istanbul said. (Editor’s note: persons and authorities do not want to be named in this article because of its explosive nature)

Such cases are almost never resolved. At least not with the methods of the German agencies. “We receive time and again indications from citizens pointing to specific cases”, the diplomat says.

And he also describes what goes on then: the bureaucratic route that runs into a wall. “We always have to make requests for legal assistance from the Turkish authorities through diplomatic channels, but these are basically declined on diverse grounds, among others that the alleged facts – requesting social help while owning properties – are not punishable in Turkey."

An attempt has already been made to investigate the issue at the land registry office, “but when they ask on whose behalf we are investigating, we tell them openly, of course, so we are immediately denied access – and we are redirected to Ankara”.  That’s it with the German methods.

On the other hand, for a long while, the Dutch have been experimenting with more aggressive methods. In recent weeks they started using a smart test – with groundbreaking success.  But they were closer to the mark even before that. 

"In recent years, the embassy in Ankara tried to bypass the long and mostly hopeless bureaucratic way by using Dutch-Turkish officials as detectives, so to speak," a Dutch specialist said.

The officials, whose speech and appearance made them indistinguishable from the locals in Turkey, were sent to neighborhoods in which it was suspected that those receiving welfare payments had properties. “For example in the high-grade sea resort Bodrum at the Aegean sea,” the Dutch specialist said. “They questioned the neighbors about the owner of this or that house”.

This method was in some cases effective, but information collected in this way can be used only to a limited extent at the court, and it is a considerably time-consuming method.  Another was to employ local Turkish lawyers directly from The Netherlands in order to get access to the property register, for lawyers are granted direct access. But the procedure was difficult, for problems of mutual understanding arose, both linguistic and those concerning the matter itself.

But a simple solution was found: an experienced Dutch mediator now works in Turkey together with the lawyers. He knows the laws, speaks the language and understands what it is all about.

A first test of this new method was successfully carried out last week. In a short period of time it was clear that the suspect, a Turkish national who applied for welfare help on grounds of alleged lack of means, was the owner of a home worth €300,000. According to the law, he first has to sell it and use the money for his livelihood before being entitled to welfare help.


German officials showed great interest in the issue once "Welt Online" put them in contact with their Dutch counterparts, and now they want to try and see if this method could be put in practice also in Berlin. Other countries such as Austria or Switzerland could also find it interesting.

It is still fully unclear whether this welfare fraud (being carried out) in Germany or The Netherlands is organised – whether it is only about single individuals obtaining welfare money by fraud. But in any case it could be that sometimes there is an organised scheme behind such as a clan or a religious community.
Source: Die Welt


Anonymous said...

Vandalizing 500 Christmas trees
- For what purpose?

In Drammen, city next to Oslo, 500 Christmas trees were vandalized by cutting the top off them at four sales points last night.

Motive? Who wants to take the trouble of doing such a thing?

Anonymous said...

- I was shocked to find that this could happen in Norway, Christmas tree salesman Michael Utsrzycki says.

Competing Christmas tree salesmen..?



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