Turkish nationals detained in Switzerland over misuse of pandemic funds

Swiss police have detained a number of Turkish nationals suspected of funnelling pandemic aid abroad or using the funds for other purposes,  Euronews Turkish reported on Wednesday.

The detentions follow an investigation by the prosecutor's office of Switzerland’s canton of Vaud, which revealed the suspects had sent abroad low-interest loans granted to assist businesses hit by the coronavirus pandemic or used the money for non-business purposes.

“An investigation was launched when banks noticed some suspicious traffic in accounts receiving Covid-19 aid; they contacted the money laundering department of the federal police “ it quoted Vaud prosecutor Anton Rüsch as telling Swiss Keystone-ATS news agency.

Rüsch said at least $1.5 million had been transferred abroad.

Most of the suspects are owners of small and medium sized businesses who had applied for the low-interest loans offered to business owners affected by the coronavirus pandemic, Rüsch said.

Swiss officials would request for the funds transferred abroad to be returned to Switzerland, he said.