EU vaccine scam alert: Police in urgent crackdown on sale of 1BN dodgy jabs– leaked report

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Law enforcers Europol and the bloc’s anti-fraud squad have warned that fraudsters have attempted to sell almost one billion doses of Covid jabs via the black market. In a secret report to member states, the European Anti-Fraud Office said the crime wave was worth almost €13billion. The investigation was raised by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen last week at a virtual summit of EU leaders.

She told the meeting that the majority of the attempted frauds had followed the same patterns and urged EU governments to not get caught out.

OLAF claimed governments and health officials have been approached by criminals posing as intermediaries representing pharmaceutical giants.

The crooks were said to use websites and social media profiles to make it seem like a legitimate business advance.

Around 92 percent of the fake offers were for the AstraZeneca vaccine, it was said.

“In multiple cases, at the time of the offer the companies had already been dissolved, or were managed by persons with a proven criminal record,” the report said, according to the Bloomberg news wire.

The memo, which was circulated to EU governments, added there was a vaccine theft or the possibility of doses being diverted by corrupt officials.

It also warned there was a chance that counterfeit or sub-standard vaccines are being offered on the black market.

Europe spokesman Jan Op Gen Oorth said: “A new criminal trend seems to be emerging pointing to targeted fraud attempted affecting public authorities responsible for the procurement of vaccines.

“Several cases in EU member states have been reported to Europe concerning fraudulent offers to sell millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccines.”

He insisted the contracts, which require a sizeable deposit, are “fraudulent attempts to steal money, as none of the offers known today are genuine.”

Europe did not identify what countries had been targeted by fraudulent vaccine offers.

But last week it was reported that Germany was one of the countries targeted by scammers.

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It was reported by German tabloid Bild that several European Union states have been offered up to 100 million doses on the “grey market” – the unauthorised sale of legitimate products.

The vaccines were illegally exported from factories in India that manufacture the vaccine under licence, it was claimed.

German Health Minister Jens Spahn was said to have received a direct offer of extra doses to help plug the current shortfall across Europe.

Attempted illicit sales of the BioNTech/Pfizer and the Moderna vaccines have also been reported.

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Italy, Austria, Hungary and the Czech Republic have all been offered illicit doses of coronavirus vaccines, according to the report.

AstraZeneca has issued a warning to governments to reject any third party offers for their vaccine.

A spokeswoman said: “Our current focus is delivering on our substantial global commitments to governments and international health organisations, as quickly as possible to help end the pandemic.

“As such, there is currently no private sector supply, sale or distribution of the vaccine.

“If someone offers private vaccines, it is likely counterfeit, so should be refused and reported to local health authorities.”

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