Home Travel & Adventure Estonians Apprehended in France Over Alleged Sale of Counterfeit French Test Certificates

Estonians Apprehended in France Over Alleged Sale of Counterfeit French Test Certificates


The Border Police of France (PAF) arrested two Estonians on April 2, on suspicion of selling fake French test certificates intended for people wishing to be naturalised.

The two men, aged 37 and 41, allegedly have produced and sold fake certificates between 2021 and 2022, SchengenVisaInfo reports.

According to Le Parisien newspaper, the suspects, based in Essonne, have been arrested at their home. During the search, the police found several fake certificates and thousands of euros in cash.

Following their arrest, they were brought to the Évry-Courcouronnes court for an immediate hearing on  April 4th. The two arrested are being accused of “fraud,” “money laundering,” “concealed work,” and “fraudulent possession of administrative documents.”

Months of Investigation Resulted in the Arrest of 2 Suspects

Suspicion first arose in 2023 when the Essonne prefecture submitted a report to the Office for Combating Illicit Trafficking of Migrants. Six certificates of the successful completion of the French Assessment Test (TEF) draw the attention of the authorities.  The TEF is a necessary step for all foreign individuals aiming to acquire French nationality.

However, authorities discovered that these six certificates, submitted between 2021 and 2022,  were fake.

Police continued their investigation and later found out that Paris and Seine-Saint-Denis prefectures had also faced similar issues. Furthermore, police detected nearly 15 cases where certificates were submitted before being identified as falsified.

Regarding this issue, authorities have interviewed the beneficiaries as well. During the investigation, two suspects of Estonian origin drew the attention of the police. The latter then detected frequent telephone communications that further supported their suspicions.

A source close to the investigation told the Parisien the suspects would be “well established within the Malian community and known for delivering false documents and helping with the submission of files to the prefecture”.

After months of investigation, police arrested two suspects on April 2, 2024. After an immediate hearing held two days later, the court ordered to defer the case, and it will be heard in the following weeks.

Nearly 60,000 People Obtained French Nationality in 2022

According to Statista data, 59,904 foreigners obtain French nationality by naturalisation. Such a figure represents a 19 per cent decrease compared to the previous year, when over 74,000 people obtained French nationality.

Overall, the number of acquisitions of French nationality by naturalisation has decreased since 1999, according to the same source. Since then, the highest figure was observed in 2005, with over 89,000 foreigners being naturalised.

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