Britain has lost up to $ 26 billion in state aid to taxpayers and companies affected by the pandemic, writes the Daily Mail.

According to sources who are aware of an ongoing investigation, the scammers stole some of the money allocated for the pandemic by falsifying documents.

In one case, 30 people who applied for government aid have their domicile declared at the same address. In another case, someone tried to flee the UK with 80,000 euros hidden in their luggage.

The scammers took advantage of the fact that the government scheme provides for the granting of cash aid first and only then the provision of evidence, notes the Daily Mail.

According to investigators, this is “the biggest fraud campaign”, and its perpetrators are mainly criminal gangs in Eastern Europe. Mention is made in particular of Albania, Bulgaria, Poland, Turkey and Romania.

The British government now intends to enforce anti-corruption laws to stop fraud.

“We will pay for this for generations,” said one Daily Mail source.