The authorities in Spain and Italy have uncovered large-scale criminal transactions with corona protective masks. In Italy, police discovered several cases of corruption in a government contract for the purchase of 800 million masks, and in Spain there were four million counterfeit FFP2 and KN95 masks.
As the Italian police announced on Wednesday, the order for the purchase of the masks in the amount of 1.25 billion euros went to three Chinese companies. The business was brokered by Italian companies who received tens of millions of euros in commission from Chinese companies for their role. Police confiscated assets from the suspects for a total of 70 million euros, including real estate in Rome, luxury cars, jewelry and a yacht.
It was rather by chance that the Spanish police discovered a planned trade in counterfeit masks in a southern suburb of Madrid. When the officers tried to investigate a reference to an illegal party by almost 50 young people in a hotel, they discovered cardboard boxes with supposedly certified protective masks and a printer for the corresponding imprints “KN95” and “FFP2”. They arrested the hotel owner as a suspected mastermind of the fraud.