Another large-scale raids at mask manufacturer Hygiene Austria
Prosecutor’s Office confirms searches at 15 sites in Austria.
Raids by officials from several authorities led by the WKStA took place at 15 locations in several provinces, according to a press release from corruption prosecutors. According to media reports on Wednesday evening, the suspicion is directed against Hygiene Austria, where house searches had already taken place in March.
“The WKStA is conducting an investigation against currently around 16 known persons and other unknown perpetrators in connection with the sale of FFP2 masks on suspicion of organized illicit work as well as serious commercial fraud,” the news release states.
According to the suspicion, FFP2 masks produced abroad were allegedly repackaged at a company location in Austria and sold as masks produced in Austria at a higher price. The repackaging of the FFP2 masks was allegedly carried out by persons without the required social security registration. The house searches had taken place after judicial authorization.
Since the house searches in March 2021, the investigative proceedings have evaluated the extensive evidence seized in the process and 160 witness and defendant hearings have been conducted by the WKStA as well as the LKA Lower Austria, the Federal Criminal Police Office and the financial police. Due to the ongoing investigations, the WKStA does not provide further details on the accused persons or companies.
Hygiene Austria was founded as a joint venture between Palmers and Lenzing for the production of Corona protective masks. After irregularities became known, Lenzing pulled out.