Wednesday early morning: 1,200 members of a Special Squad named “Cumulus” conducted a major raid at dawn at Frankfurt Airport and several other German airports on the suspicion of
organized crime and illegal employment. Six men, ages 26 to 54, were arrested by customs and police officials, three Turkish and three German nationals. They are accused of forming a criminal
organization for their own personal gain through illegal practices both in cargo and baggage handling.
The raid was preceded by a thorough 5 year criminal investigation through customs and police specialists on suspicion of tax evasion, illegal employment and moonlighting at various German
airports. Obviously, the proof for such illegal practices was so substantial that the squad decided to take immediate action to ensure that evidence is protected and arrest the suspected
perpetrators on the spot. They allegedly issued faked bills, founding and closing permanently dummy companies and used illegal labor for cargo and baggage handling activities without paying any
government required social contributions.
Prior to the raid, the security forces of airport operator Fraport AG had been informed in order to avoid any disturbance of air transport.
A lot of criminal energy
According to speaker Heinz Michael Horst of the “Cumulus” special commission the gang has evaded taxes in the amount of more than 17 million euros. Besides the six arrested, 23 other defendants are accused of having participated in forming a criminal organization.
The private homes of two of the suspects were stormed by police forces and 230,000 euros in cash confiscated hidden in a garage in Frankfurt’s neighboring community of Ruesselsheim.
Two handling firms and a staffing company seem to be among the suspects
Asked about the companies that were targeted and raided yesterday morning, a speaker of the prosecutor’s office denied any information. According to unconfirmed reports the criminal investigation is concentrating on two cargo handling companies both located in Frankfurt’s Cargo City South – Turkish Celebi and Cargoworker, a Russian-German ground handler. Local observers confirmed to CargoForwarder Global that the offices of both handlers have been raided by police forces, confiscating many documents and data that was subsequently submitted to the prosecutor in charge of this case.
The third accused seems to be the Frankfurt-based staffing company named “Rent-The-Best”, recruiting cheap labor and posting the individuals to handling agents without paying for their social security or statuary pension insurance. As previously said, these are assumptions not yet confirmed by official administrative bodies.
Next, the prosecuting authorities will evaluate the seized documents and files, which will take some time. So it can be expected that the trial will not start before the beginning of 2016.
Heiner Siegmund / Michael Taweel