Politics | August 31, 2001, Friday // 00:00| Views: | Comments: 0

500 to 1,000 DEM cost the illegal French visas, issued by the Sofia French Consulate, Ivan Rachev Spokesman of the Special Investigations Service (SIS) said. About 400 illegal visas were issued daily. They were issued within 24 hours instead of two weeks and a half. Jean-Luc Jacob, Vice President of the Court of Appeals in Strasbourg sent on March 16, 2001 an urgent request to the Bulgarian Supreme Cassation Prosecution office for assistance in the investigation of the visa scam. The French Justice Ministry addressed the letter. The reply to the request was 1,200 pages long. The SIS replied to the French authorities within one month, even though the minimum deadline set in the Code of Criminal Procedure is two months. The investigators identified 250 persons and questioned them in nearly 24 districts. The French Embassy required just a passport and a photo for visa issuing, which is a criminal offence. Also false or genuine affidavits of invitation from France were used. French citizen Bernad Quecks with in offices Bulgaria and France, invited Bulgarian citizens to `specialization`. That is how the visa candidates were issued work permits by the Embassy. `This is not a case of documentary fraud but of corruption, ` Rachev said, quoted by BTA. French Ambassador Dominique Chassard left Bulgaria on August 23. He denied involvement in the French visa scam.
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