The French authorities (OCRIEST), with support from Europol, took action on 24 May 2011 against an organised network involved in commercially falsifying and distributing EU identity documents. In total there were five arrests at four different addresses across Paris. The Dutch Royal Marechaussee took simultaneous action in the Netherlands against people linked to those arrested in France.
Those arrested had been involved in the production and distribution of forged British passports, birth certificates and driving licences. The price charged for a set of these forged documents was around 3500 euros.
The suspects arrested were of Pakistani origin and had links to producers of the documents in Pakistan. The group are also suspected of producing fake certificates stating that Pakistani nationals seeking asylum in the EU were Christians. These false certificates were used to strengthen political asylum applications in the EU on the basis of religious persecution in Pakistan.
During the house searches in France, bank statements, money transfer receipts and identity documents were also seized as well as files and supporting documentation for claiming political asylum in France. The house search carried out in the Netherlands led to a home computer, CDs and paperwork being confiscated for examination.
Europol supported this investigation from its early stages by providing intelligence reports, organising an operational meeting and facilitating information exchange. Europol also assisted during the day of action by providing technical assistance and deploying its mobile office in Paris along with two Europol officers: an illegal immigration specialist and an experienced analyst.