Irish gang involved in sale of fake Covid-19 travel documents, Europol warns

Irish Gang Involved In Sale Of Fake Covid-19 Travel Documents, Europol Warns
Several European countries have introduced legislation requiring proof of a recent negative PCR test for Covid-19 before allowing passengers into the country. Photo: Ina Fassbender/AFP via Getty
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Irish criminals are allegedly involved in the forging of negative Covid-19 tests to allow people travel within Europe, Europol has warned.

The European police agency said members of the Rathkeale Rovers gang, a group of Irish criminals operating in several European countries, are using a mobile app to “manually falsify test results” which are then sold onto travellers for hundreds of euro each.


Ireland and several other European countries have introduced legislation requiring proof of a recent PCR test showing a negative result for Covid-19 before allowing passengers into the country.

“Given the widespread technological means available, in the form of high-quality printers and different software, fraudsters are able to produce high-quality counterfeit, forged or fake documents,” Europol said.

Counterfeit documents

Criminals are now operating from airports, online and through messaging apps to sell counterfeit documents showing a negative Covid-19 test.

These documents typically bear the name of a genuine laboratory and are highly convincing.

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The Rathkeale Rovers, which is based in the Limerick town of the same name and operates internationally, is one of several groups involved in the activity across Europe.

The Irish Times reports that the Irish criminals’ activity is chiefly based in the UK. Members of the gang have previously been arrested for money laundering, smuggling, drug trafficking and burglary.

Europol said it is highly likely that production and sales of fake test certificates will prevail as long as travel restrictions remain in place.

“The detection of fake Covid-19 negative test certificates confirms that criminals – be it organised crime groups or individual opportunistic scammers – seize profitable opportunities once they arise,” Europol said.

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