SFO looking into allegations of Covid-19 wage subsidy abuse

Source: 1News

The Serious Fraud Office is looking into "a number" of allegations of abuse of the Government's Covid-19 wage subsidy.

Wallet with cash

The subsidy payments support employers to continue to pay employees and protect jobs for businesses affected by a change in Covid-19 alert levels.

In a statement on Friday, SFO director Julie Read said the allegations related to "multiple complex cases of potential fraud" that had been referred to the agency following investigations by the Ministry of Social Development.

It comes after the SFO received funding from the Government last year to specifically tackle fraud arising from the pandemic.

Read said investigating allegations of serious abuse of the Covid-19 wage subsidy met the mandate for that funding.

"We are pleased to be supporting the extensive work already being undertaken by MSD in response to abuse of the Covid-19 wage subsidy, by contributing the expertise of our specialist investigative teams to look into cases of a particularly challenging and complex nature," she said.

The SFO said it was not able to provide further comment regarding the cases while its inquiries were underway.