A report in the German tabloid Bild says that Greece is “paradise of forged passports”, but that Greek Police in 2017 rooted out five major fake passport networks.
The problem with bogus travel documents has led German authorities to suspend Schengen rules for Greek citizens and travelers from Greece, with humiliating extra checks akin those implemented with non-EU citizens.
According to the report, a fake Greek passport along with a ticket to Germany costs between 4,000-5,000 euros.
The forgers are said to offer a guarantee. A middleman escorts the “clients” to the airport, and if they fail to pass checks, they get their money back. The buyers give a down payment when ordering the passport, and when they reach their destination the remainder is paid.
Bild’s reporter claims to have attempted to buy a fake passport in Athens. “It is easy to find forgers in Athens: in cafes, at kiosks, and refugee reception centres,” the report states.
The reporter writes that he met up with a middleman before Christmas at a cafeteria in Athens. He said he was a German journalist and that he wanted to travel to Syria via Turkey. Though the middleman was suspicious at first, he advised the reporter to buy a Bulgarian passport. That he did, using the name Peter Ivanov.
The middleman claimed to be able to procure any country’s passport, including Canadian ones, and said that for refugees Italian and Greek passports are best. Those that can pass airport checks are more expensive.
The journalist bought a 2,000 euro passport, which was cheaper as it was not designed to pass airport checks.
The middleman said that since German officers were stationed in Greece, the checks are more exhaustive and the fake passport price has risen accordingly.
Currently, the easiest way for those with fake passports to reach Germany is by flying to Italy, and then travelling north by train, according to the report.