Germany shuts down 'bizarre' Malta far-right group scam
Minister insists there is no loophole
The German authorities have moved to shut down a bizarre prank played by a far-right group to threaten officials which used "legal loopholes" to operate from Malta, according to media reports.
The German government has struck a deal with Malta to end the so-called "Malta scam" that has been exploited by the Reichsbürger movement to harass German judges and court workers, Deutsche Welle reported.
Since early 2014, members of the movement have discovered the Malta scam as a way of retaliating against fines and court summonses. Instead of paying tax penalties, Reichsbürger sent out official court orders – notarised by Maltese law – to German judges that urged them to follow the German states demands to comply with their tax obligation as German citizens.
But according to reports, the German state has "finally" urged the Maltese government to extradite and report any Reichsbürger operating from Malta.
When contacted, Justice Minister Owen Bonnici dismissed claims that the letters were sent because of a loophole in Maltese law.
"The official letters sent, which were also shown to the Attorney General, were sent as private civil pretences made in official letters through established procedures in European law," he said.
The Maltese government, he added, has offered its full cooperation to weed out abuse through judicial acts addressed to non-residents.
The Reichsbürger are a loose network of people who refuse to recognise the legitimacy of the current German state and therefore effectively consider themselves citizens of the old German Reich. They believe that since Germany never signed a formal peace treaty with the Allies in 1945, the country is still effectively at war and under occupation.
Reichsbürger have gained notoriety in recent months, and there is increasing evidence that members of the group have been hoarding weapons, according to DW.