Suspicions of mass fraud rock French universities
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Prosecutors in Marseilles have launched an investigation into claims that hundreds of Chinese students bribed officials at a university in Toulon to obtain fake diplomas. Other French universities could be involved in the fraud.
The student was reportedly attacked after failing to pay her debts with an intermediary. A few weeks earlier, two Chinese students had filed a complaint at the local police station after discovering that some diplomas had been delivered fraudulently.
A diploma worth 2,700 euros
According to French daily Le Monde, the fraud began in the 2004-2005 academic year when a Chinese student, who was struggling to get his diploma, began offering bribes to one of the institute’s employees. The student was subsequently awarded his diploma.
The scheme was then extended to the student's friends. According to a source quoted by Le Monde, the fake diplomas cost around €2,700. Last year, one student alone sold close to 300 diplomas.
On April 9, the police searched the institute’s premises and seized exam papers written by Chinese students over the last four years.
The head of the institute reportedly told Le Monde that he had been approached by a Chinese student who offered him a €100,000 bribe in exchange for diplomas for about 60 of his fellow students.
Other universities involved
When informed of the police's suspicions last October, the
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