A patrol by the Italian financial police in front of the Parma town council | Photo: ANSA/Pierpaolo Ferreri
A patrol by the Italian financial police in front of the Parma town council | Photo: ANSA/Pierpaolo Ferreri

Italian authorities in Parma have arrested seven people on charges of aiding and abetting clandestine migration. The individuals are accused of having forged tax documents to help non-EU citizens needing to convert or renew residence permits and of having arranged transfers from Italy to other EU countries.

Financial police in the Italian city of Parma on Wednesday arrested seven people on charges of aiding and abetting clandestine migration.

The investigation found that several people had helped migrants without entitlement to remain in the EU by providing forged tax documentation to those in need to convert or renew their residence permits.

The suspects had also helped arrange the transfers of undocumented migrants from Italy to other EU states, police said.

Probe lasted over a year

The operation began at dawn on January 15 and involved more than 100 members of the financial police. The preliminary investigative judge ordered that five suspects be placed in jail and two others under house arrest. A total of 11 people are under investigation as part of the probe by the state prosecutor's office.

The inquiry, which lasted over a year and a half, began after the monitoring of services provided by a center for data elaboration headquartered in Parma.

The data bank showed that the elaboration center had over the previous two years provided tax assistance to hundreds of non-EU citizens, many of whom with criminal records, who needed to renew or convert their residence permits.

Three lines of investigation

In the first line of investigation, financial police activities focused on the tax documentation believed to have been forged in order to enable the non-EU citizens to have their residence permits issued or renewed after paying between €100 and €300.

The second line of investigation found that one person under investigation - with the collaboration of an intermediary with Nigerian nationality - had made use of his personal firm to provide fake pay checks. The firm was actually inactive.

Fake work contracts cost €600, while fake pay checks are €25 each. The forged documentation enabled the non-EU citizens to convert or renew their residence permits. A third line of investigation found that five of those investigated had in April 2019 arranged for 27 non-EU citizens of Pakistani and Indian nationality to be taken from Italy to other EU countries.
 

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