The United Kingdom has not informed the European Union about the conviction of 75,000 European criminals, writes The Guardian Tuesday evening. A system error was discovered after five years, after which the British government tried to keep the error secret for months for fear of losing face, the British newspaper said.

Thus, the EU did not know that tens of thousands of Europeans, who had committed a crime in the United Kingdom, had been punished by the British court. Also, the risk of recidivism of these people was then unknown to their countries of origin.

The convicts may include serious criminals such as murderers and rapists, writes The Guardian. They could travel back without the authorities being aware of their conviction.

According to the newspaper, it is certain that the British authorities wanted to cover up the case. At a meeting in May of the UK ACRO service, which keeps track of criminal data, it was confirmed that the British Ministry of the Interior was reluctant to disclose the error "due to reputation damage" that the UK could incur.

A month later it was said again for the same reason that there was "uncertainty" about reporting the error. The minutes have since been taken from ACRO's website.

The Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security is aware of the problem, a spokesperson told the NOS. The case is being investigated at EU level.