France uncovers massive fraud of Covid-19 payments

France has said it is investigating “massive fraud” across the nation by people falsely claiming temporary wage assistance for employees laid off during the coronavirus lockdown.

As the crisis hit, the French government quickly introduced a system to pay around 84% of net salary for people no longer able to work.

In the first month alone the programme paid out roughly €24 billion.

Officials noticed suspicious similarities in some applications, in many cases by people who surreptitiously used the tax registration numbers of firms that had not applied for the funds.

They said €1.7m was illicitly paid out, but officials managed to suspend other payments totalling more than €6m.

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Up to 60,000 retail jobs could be lost as a result...

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