20,000 virus-related criminal cases under way in Germany: Report

20,000 VIRUS-RELATED CRIMINAL CASES UNDER WAY IN GERMANY: REPORT

Public prosecutors in Germany are dealing with some 20,000 cases of coronavirus-related crimes, Die Welt newspaper reported.

Crimes linked to counterfeit masks, posting misinformation online, false applications for coronavirus funds, and counterfeit medication have boomed, the German Judges' Association (DRB) head Sven Rebehn, told the newspaper in comments published Monday.

According to the DRB, it will probably take until well into next year before the criminal justice system has completed all of the proceedings under way.

Most of the cases of fraudulent subsidies relate to the coronavirus aid programme from the spring, which ended on May 31.

With about 7,500 proceedings on suspicion of subsidy fraud and other fraudulent practices, investigators in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia have the highest number of cases, according to survey results from the DRB, published by Die Welt.

Berlin and Bavaria follow, with more than 4,500 and 2,200 coronavirus-related cases respectively reaching the public prosecutor's offices.

According to the Judges' Association, more than 6,000 such cases have reached the administrative courts since March. Since the beginning of November about 600 urgent applications have been received by the administrative and higher administrative courts, Rebehn said.

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