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Trial starts in Germany for fraud involving 1m virus masks

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Trial starts in Germany for fraud involving 1m virus masks

A 26-year-old man went on trial before the district court in the western German city of Koblenz on Tuesday due to a suspected fraud involving around one million coronavirus protective masks, a court spokesperson said.

The man was apparently involved in a supraregional supermarket chain with two accomplices in the conclusion of sales contracts for the delivery of Filtering FacePiece 2 (FFP2) masks for more than three million euros ($3.68 million) in April.

This happened during the first coronavirus wave, according to the approximately 150-page indictment.

The young man knew that the masks did not meet the high FFP2 standard and were just simple mouth and nose covers, the indictment said.

The 26-year-old defendant is also said to have fraudulently obtained coronavirus emergency aid of 9,000 euros, using false information.

He is currently on remand.

His two alleged accomplices are not appearing in the trial.

FFP2 masks protect better against coronavirus infection than cloth masks and are used by doctors and nurses, for example.

When the pandemic broke out in spring, there was a great shortage of FFP2 masks in many places in Germany.

FFP are particularly effective at filtering particles from inhaled or exhaled air, but also do not offer 100 per cent coronavirus protection.

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