'We have found roughly 1,500 cases of abuse regarding visa applications in the last two years,' foreign ministry spokesman Martin Jaeger said, confirming press reports.
'In Moscow there were 1,259 cases, in Chisinau 70 cases, in Shanghai 30 and in Cairo investigations are still ongoing but we have so far identified 132 cases,' he added.
Jaeger said the ministry had taken disciplinary steps against staff members implicated in the visa fraud, adding that everywhere except in Moldova, these were locals employed by the missions and not members of the German diplomatic corps.
'In all cases criminal, disciplinary and labour steps have been taken,' he said.
The German press on Monday drew parallels between the affair and a visa scandal that shook the government of former chancellor Gerhard Schroeder two years ago, but Jaeger denied that the latest cases pointed to serious problems at German embassies around the world.
'I do not want to diminish these matters—every case is one too many—but we must accept that there will be cases like this and we make very great efforts to limit such irregularities as far as possible.'
Güncelleme Tarihi: 10 Aralık 2007, 17:04