Report: Data protection disabled fraud prevention in Corona aid

Data protection concerns of the tax authorities in several federal states have probably prevented a more effective fight against attempted fraud when paying out Corona aid.


This is reported by “Welt am Sonntag”, citing its own information. Accordingly, there was no regular comparison of the IBAN account connection between the data in the auxiliary requests from companies and the information stored at the tax offices in North Rhine-Westphalia and Berlin, among others.

That was also due to the fact that external service providers were used to process the applications, the newspaper quotes from circles of the responsible clerks. Due to concerns about tax secrecy, no automatic comparison of bank details was made possible. In order to change the minds of the financial authorities of the federal states, the Federal Ministry of Economics sent a formulating aid to the approval offices of the federal states on February 17, with which the tax authorities were to be convinced of the harmlessness of the data transfer, reports "Welt am Sonntag", citing the letter. In Berlin, the responsible investment bank IBB admits that a data comparison has only taken place last week for applications submitted by so-called auditing third parties such as tax consultants.

In North Rhine-Westphalia the question remains whether the IBAN connections of the companies are also regularly compared. "A multi-stage process with intensive review loops was developed to effectively prevent misuse of state aid payments," the Ministry of Economic Affairs told the newspaper there. “This also includes clear random checks.” The licensing authority agrees “where necessary” with other authorities - for example with the tax authorities.

How often this happens is not recorded statistically. Both federal states admit that they work with external assistants to a greater extent. "For reasons of labor economy and the need of the applicants, the Investitionsbank Berlin has secured external support as part of an EU-wide tender," the bank announced. "As in all similar cases in cooperation with external service providers, data protection is adhered to by default."

In North Rhine-Westphalia, too, the state administration is supported “by a three-digit number of employees from professionally qualified external service providers”. "Despite this large number of applications and intensive review loops, there is only a few individual cases where there is an urgent suspicion of subsidy fraud, which was immediately recognized," the newspaper quoted from the State Ministry of Economics. "This shows how well this close-knit system of collaboration and fraud prevention works."