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Rabat – Spain’s police arrested a 24 year old man in the southern city of Almeria who sold fake, negative COVID tests to Moroccan travelers.
Prior to the new travel restrictions between Spain and Morocco, the pharmacy employee had sold fake, negative PCR tests to Moroccans for €130 (MAD 1400).
Spanish police opened an investigation into the illegal business on April 20 and found evidence of seven transactions between the pharmacy employee and travelers. Evidence showed the employee had falsified patient records in the testing system.
The employee had a side job as a travel agent and used his connections to promote the black market scheme to desperate travelers.
The police are investigating and the exact number of illicit transactions is unknown.
The market for falsified travel documents during the COVID-19 pandemic has remained an issue for law agencies around the world.
In November 2020, French police arrested seven people for selling fake, negative COVID tests at the Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris for €300 (MAD 3227). A similar operation was discovered in India’s southern city of Bargur on April 21 as a pharmacy worker sold false documentation with official hospital stamps and signatures to travelers.
The pandemic has forced travelers to provide new forms of authorization and increased the desperation of many, causing a rise in cases of forgery and document fabrication.
Europol commented on the unique situation and stated, “as long as travel restrictions remain in place due to the COVID-19 situation, it is highly likely that production and sales of fake test certificates will prevail.”