Norway’s largest bank, DnB NOR, is finally closing a loophole that has allowed illegal aliens to open bank accounts, obtain work permits and other important documents using false passports. One Albanian actually managed to get work inside the prime minister’s residence, at special police unit KRIPOS and inside a jail in Sandvika.
Newspaper Aftenposten has published several articles lately about the widespread use of false IDs in Norway, and how the banks have unwittingly played a role. That’s because banks have been able to arrange issuance of a so-called “D-number” for new customers who present a passport from within the EU and European Free Trade Area.
The “D-number” is granted to European residents living and working in Norway on a temporary basis. It functions much like a Norwegian resident’s personnummer (personal number), which is the equivalent of a US Social Security Number and must be obtained for work, tax and welfare purposes.
DnB NOR now realizes that hundreds of its new customers have cheated the bank, by presenting false passports, often from Belgium, Italy and Bulgaria. Police suspect as many as 500 Albanian citizens, for example, are currently living and working in Norway after obtaining needed documentation by presenting false documents.
The banks haven’t had the means to check whether a passport is genuine, so now DnB is refusing to accept passports from countries subject to passport fraud. The bank is also going through its records and has reported 95 cases of suspected fraud to police so far this year.
Bank officials also think the banks should no longer be expected to arrange issuance of D-numbers. “That should be done by the police, not the banks,” DnB NOR spokeswoman Aud-Helen Rasmussen told Aftenposten. “We’re now checking new customers more thoroughly.”
Aftenposten reported Tuesday that one 35-year-old man who had claimed to be Italian was really an Albanian living in Norway under false identity for the past nine years. He had set up a painting firm and obtained work remodeling the prime minister’s new residence. He also had worked done painting work, ironically enough, for police investigative unit Kripos and for the police station in Sandvika.