On Tuesday, around 80 police investigators and 26 social investigators made a series of simultaneous arrests in Belgium, Italy and Luxembourg as part of an investigation into widespread fraud and social dumping.
The operation was supported by Europol and saw eight people arrested and one other issued with an arrest warrant in Italy. 32 luxury vehicles were seized along with approximately €300,000 cash, Belga News Agency reported.
Social dumping is the term given to illegally using cheap labour by exploiting migrant workers and thereby circumventing employment regulations. In this instance, those arrested were largely using undeclared Romanian labourers who were unprotected by social security or controlled working conditions.
“This operation was carried out after carrying out checks on construction sites. The Brussels employment auditorium, which specialises in social rights, decided to investigate further,” a press release explained on Tuesday evening.
A network of Belgian and foreign construction companies – their managers included – are suspected of bringing Romanian workers to Belgium via a series of companies around Europe. These would then be taken advantage of, essentially serving as cheap labour by foregoing European regulations on salary, social security, or insurance.
Aside from liquid cash and luxury vehicles, several properties or construction sites were seized along with numerous valuable objects.
“The scale of this operation reflects how seriously the public minister takes the matter of organised social fraud and in particular, the fight against social dumping,” the employment auditorium commented.