Germany’s Federal Office for Refugees and Migration (Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge, BAMF) will review more than 25,000 asylum decisions after allegations of corruption at its regional office in the northern city of Bremen.
Interior Minister Horst Seehofer announced the audit after it emerged that a former official at BAMF’s Bremen branch allegedly accepted cash bribes in exchange for granting asylum to at least 1,200 refugees who did not meet the necessary criteria. Five others, including three lawyers, an interpreter and an intermediary, are also being investigated.
The three lawyers allegedly received cash payments from “refugees” across Germany and submitted their asylum applications to the Bremen office. The interpreter then “interpreted” asylum interviews in such a way that the answers supposedly given by refugees matched the requirements for successful asylum applications. He reportedly received €500 ($680) per asylum seeker.
In one instance, BAMF’s Bremen office approved the asylum application of Mohamad A., who, through a corrupt interpreter, claimed to be a Syrian refugee and whose sister was shot dead by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Two years later it emerged that Mohamad A. lied: His name is actually Milad H. — and he comes from Romania.