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Cablegate: Embassy Cairo

VZCZCXRO8665
PP RUEHROV
DE RUEHEG #1945 2861458
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 131458Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3847
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
RUEHTH/AMEMBASSY ATHENS 0006
RHMFIUU/HOMELAND SECURITY CENTER WASHINGTON DC
RUCNFB/FBI WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS CAIRO 001945

DEPT FOR CA/FPP, CA/EX, CA/OCS, DS/CR/OCI
ALSO FOR G/TIP, INL, DRL, PRM, NEA/RA, NEA/ELA, NEA/PPD
AND FOR DS/IP/NEA

SIPDIS SENSITIVE POSTS FOR FRAUD PREVENTION UNITS E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: KFRD CVIS CMGT ASEC SMIG EG

SUBJECT:

Cooperation and Coordination Busts Fraud Ring
1.(SBU) Summary: The Cairo Fraud Prevention Unit (FPU), the Egyptian State Security Investigative Services (SSIS) and the Greek Embassy in Cairo worked together to identify a major fraud ring involved in obtaining Schengen visas for mala fide travelers. The ring used fake US visas and bogus supporting documentation to boost the credibility of individuals intending to live and work in one of the European Union (EU) countries. SSIS has made arrests and seized materials which indicate a large number of Schengen visas may have been issued to unqualified applicants who used this fraud ring. End Summary. Greek Suspicions ----------------

2.(SBU) During a courtesy call by Consul General Roberto Powers with the Greek Consul General, the latter asked for the verification of a US visa. The US visa was in an Egyptian passport belonging to an individual applying for a Schengen visa at the Greek Embassy in Cairo. CG Powers identified the visa as having been altered due to faint scratches and markings over some of the characters. An additional Consular Consolidated Database (CCD) check by the Fraud Prevention Manager (FPM) showed no visa foil number worldwide matching the one on the US visa. In fact, all the information on the visa was fraudulent. American Coordination ---------------------

3. (SBU) With information provided by the Greek Embassy, the FPU contacted the Egyptian authorities for assistance. The Egyptian Civil Affairs Agency, (CAA), the central depository for all civil affairs records, confirmed an address in Lower Egypt for the above individual. In addition, Egyptian immigration authorities confirmed passport issuance and movements for the individual. The A/RSO-I alerted SSIS to the attempted fraud of this individual and the possibility that others might be utilizing fake US visas and bogus Egyptian documentation to obtain Schengen visas. Egyptian Action ---------------

4.(SBU) The individual admitted to SSIS that he had agreed to pay 70,000 Egyptian pounds (LE), about USD 12,000, to a visa facilitator in exchange for a genuine Schengen visa. SSIS subsequently arrested the visa facilitator at his residence and seized 20 individualized Egyptian passports, 50,000 LE in cash, about USD 10,000 and a large volume of fake Egyptian government stamps. The individual admitted to preparing bogus supporting documentation for visa applications to the Greek and French embassies in particular. However, he stated that the fake US visas were prepared by another individual. Greek-American-Egyptian Cooperation -----------------------------------

5.(SBU) SSIS solicited FPU assistance in locating any US visa applications associated with this visa forger. FPU found a record in CCD for a revoked US visa that indicated this individual and three others had falsely claimed in 2007 to be working for a Saudi prince traveling to the United States. The A/RSO-I worked with SSIS to identify a current local address for this individual based on his previous visa application and SSIS is continuing to investigate. In addition, SSIS provided a list of 20 names to FPU's two LES Senior Fraud Investigators that was found at the above address including photocopies of Schengen visas issued by the Greek Embassy. The FPM worked with the Greek Consul to confirm that these visas had been issued by the Greek Embassy, but probably based on bogus supporting documentation. In addition, the FPM shared the list of 20 names with contacts at other EU embassies and provided a summary of the fraud ring. Comment -------

6.The close cooperation and coordination among the Greek Embassy, the Egyptian authorities and the FPU helped to quickly identify and stop a fraud ring that had been successfully obtaining Schengen visas for mala fide travelers. SSIS is continuing to investigate and is confident more arrests will soon follow. Post will report results as they develop. SCOBEY

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