More than 20 people have been arrested after a scam that reportedly involved Bulgarian officials helping thousands of foreigners gain EU passports – and therefore the ability to travel across the European Union.

Prosecutors on Monday revealed that they had broken up the ring, which may have involved some working for the State Agency for Bulgarians Abroad. There were reports locally that the head of the agency, Petar Haralampiev, was among those arrested along with the agency’s Chief Secretary.

Fraudulent applications from people in Ukraine, Moldova and Macedonia may have been facilitated. The scam saw people pay a few thousands Euros in return for a fake certification of Bulgarian origin, with Euractiv reporting that there may have been as many as 30 fake certificates issued every week.

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