Two diplomats working at the German embassy in Albania have been charged with allegedly accepting payments to issue visas, the Berlin prosecutor's office said Wednesday. The two Tirana-based diplomats, who were not named, are believed to have issued, in exchange for money, an undisclosed number of German visas allowing travel through all 15 of the west European countries covered by the Schengen Agreement, a spokesman said. A foreign ministry spokesman said a special inspection team had been sent to Tirana when the affair came to light and that "personnel, organisational and legal measures" had been taken. The
Die Welt newspaper said, in an advance extract of its Thursday edition, that action had been taken against a number of staff at the German embassy and that several local security personnel had been dismissed. It said the foreign ministry had stepped up inspections at its embassies worldwide in the light of the findings.
Der Spiegel magazine said about 60 or 70 irregular Schengen visas had been discovered.