Men in Germany are claiming to be the “fathers” of female refugees’ babies in order to help them stay in the country, prosecutors have claimed.
Authorities in the country say that hundreds of locals are taking advantage of loose parenthood rules to guarantee the women’s right to stay.
In Germany, any man is capable of claiming legal “fatherhood” of an unborn child – regardless of whether he is related to the baby, or has any relationship at all with the mother.
As a result, prosecutors claim, men have started striking deals with pregnant female migrants who worry that their asylum claims will be rejected.
According to a report by the German news agency DPA, as many as 700 of the shady transactions have so far been made.
Martin Steltner, a prosecutor in Berlin, said that some men have claimed fatherhood of more than ten babies each.
The practice is reportedly favored by unemployed men who are reportedly paid several thousand euros per claim.
As they have no regular income, they do not need to pay for the upkeep of the child, which is instead covered by the state.
Once fatherhood is established, the child becomes a German citizen and has all the rights of any other Germany.
The mother, meanwhile, gains the right to stay in the country and care for her “German” offspring.
A report on the phenomenon by broadcaster rbb said that women had come from as far afield as Vietnam to take advantage of the scam.
There were also large numbers reported as coming from Africa and eastern Europe.
Although prosecutors are investigating the practice, it is unclear whether they will be able to do anything.
Since current German law only requires a man to formally say he is somebody’s father to make it so, it is very difficult to restrict the process.
There are apparently no restrictions on money changing hands during the process.
German lawmakers are trying closing the loophole, DPA reported. But they may be powerless to stop cases which have already taken place.