A solicitor and his three immigration advising ‘oppos’ organised thousands of sham marriages between illegal immigrants and EU citizens, raising millions of pounds.
Law firm partner and immigration law specialist Tevfick Souleiman, 39, pictured, plus advisers, Zafer Altinbas, 38, Cenk Guclu, 41, and 29-year-old Furrah Kosimov arranged thousands of fake marriages over a seven-year period for those outside the EU, the Old Bailey was told.
Using a north London law firm as a front, the gang arranged for brides or husbands from the UK or the EU, principally from Eastern Europe, to marry non-EU individuals.
The jury heard at one stage several EU citizens a day were being flown in from Eastern Europe using budget airlines such as Ryanair, Wizz Air, Aero Lithuania or Air Latvia.
They would then be housed in an east London tower block before going to registry offices around the country. The solicitor’s firm would also provide fake documents such as the required statutory declarations needed by the UK Border Agency to prove the marriage was genuine, tenancy agreements or employment references.
The gang was rumbled when suspicions were raised about the number of people choosing Cambridge Registry Office to get married despite having no link to the city.
The ‘Old Bill’ raided the two law offices of the solicitors and then tracked down a lock-up Kosimov had rented which contained shed loads of files of the alleged fake marriages. A paper trail was their undoing.
The court heard so big was the scam that they ran out of addresses where they claimed the happy couple were living and so had to recycle the addresses with couples living there at the same time.
It is alleged so many documents were being produced that Kosimov at times signed his own name to them in error.
The jury heard Kosimov has fled and was not in the dock with his three co-accused who deny the conspiracy to breach immigration law by arranging the sham marriages from August 2004 until February of last year. See what I mean about giving dodgy foreigners bail?
The case continues and the accused are on bail, hmm how many of the accused will turn up on the next trial day and how many of those married shamsters will be found and deported?
Stolen fish wins competition
Angler Matthew Clark, 29, took first prize worth £800 and proudly posed for photos clutching a 13lb whopping great Bass (nearly 6kgs for you metricated blog readers).
But a rival angler recognised the monster fish following a trip to the aquarium in Guernsey and police were called in to investigate.
However, you’re not going to ‘Adam and Eve’ (believe) this he had ‘half-inched’ it (pinched) on the final day of the competition following a trip to the aquarium in Guernsey and guess what; another angler, Shane Bentley, recognised the fish as being the aquarium species. Now that’s what I call an angler so clued up on fish he can recognise individual fish!
Clark was yesterday given 100 hours community service after admitting burglary and fraud. He was allowed to walk free after taking a two-year oath of good behaviour. He will face jail if he breaks the terms.
‘Nobby’ Clark owed the manager of the island’s St Peter Port Aquarium £1,500 so sussed out a plan to break into the aquarium, pinch the bass and then return it while paying off some of his debt. In July last year, on the last day of the Bailiwick Bass Club Open Competition, Clark scaled cliffs, climbed a rope ladder and sneaked into the aquarium through a back door. Hmm, Ninja Clark.
He dropped and injured the fish while racing to get his “catch” to the 8pm weigh-in at a nearby fishing shop. The bass tipped the scales at 13lb 13oz – easily beating the runner-up which weighed 10lb 3oz.
******A PERCY POINT OF INFORMATION******
Do you know in my day people called Clark were always called ‘Nobby’ and that’s because clerks were thought of as above manual workers and because they worked with managers and the like in offices they were said to mingle with the big nobs.