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Law Firm Partner jailed for marriage scam

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Law Firm Partner jailed for marriage scam

Post  Panda on Mon 18 Feb - 23:48

Law firm partner jailed for marriage scam

A partner in a law firm has been jailed for a £20 million “industrial scale”
immigration scam that saw about five sham marriages carried out a day over many

Clockwise from top right:
Tevfick Souleiman, his advisors Zafer Altinbas and Cenk Guclu, and fixer Furrah
Kosimov Photo: Metropolitan

9:12PM GMT 18 Feb 2013

Tevfick Souleiman ran a "conveyor belt" of brides being flown in from eastern
European countries, who would marry men they had never met from non-EU countries
and be flown out the next day after being paid by the firm.

Scotland Yard said the North London firm had conducted up to 8,000
immigration applications between 2004 and 2011, with up to £14,000 pounds being
charged for each marriage.

The grooms, who included members of the Albanian mafia, were able to live in
Britain as a result.

Their sham EU brides were flown in from the Baltic, Bulgaria or Romania using
Ryanair, Wizz Air, Aero Lithuania or Air Latvia.

Souleiman, 39, plus his advisors, Zafer Altinbas, 38 and Cenk Guclu, 41, and
29-year-old fixer Furrah Kosimov, took advantage of the pressure the UK Border
Agency was under and the complexity of EU law to create frauds "that would be
obvious to a child", Judge John Bevan QC told the Old Bailey.

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Using the law firm Souleiman GA Solicitors as a front, the gang arranged for
staged marriages that allowed both parties to remain in the country or access
benefits, and "imposing their wholly undeserved burden on the hard pressed
taxpayers", the court heard.

The brides were housed in an east London tower block before going to registry
offices around the country from Exeter to Edinburgh.

The men were mainly from Turkey, Bulgaria, Pakistan and Albania.

The solicitor's firm provided 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 scam was only discovered when detectives investigating a £1 billion
cocaine seizure organised by the Albanian mafia stumbled across millions of
pounds being siphoned through the solicitors' bank accounts.

Soulieman, whose wife works for the Crown Prosecution Service, was jailed for
10 years for conspiracy to breach immigration law by arranging the sham
marriages from August 2004 until February of last year and receiving the
proceeds of crime.

Guclu was jailed for nine years, as was Kosimov, who was jailed in his
absence after fleeing the country.

Altinbas who pleaded guilty after the first day of trial was jailed for six
years and nine months.

Passing sentence, Judge Bevan said the UK Border Agency was under enormous
pressure to deal with the increasing number of backlog cases so that rules had
to be changed and amnesties granted.

He said brides mainly from Eastern Europe were brought in on a "conveyor
belt" to marry illegal immigrants, adding: "There must be scores of such people
in this country, many of whom will be imposing their wholly undeserved burden on
the hard-pressed taxpayers.

"It amounts to the systematic perverting of the processes of the UKBA over a
period of years.

"It represents an open attack on the institute of marriage itself, turning it
into a paper exercise involving two people who can't even speak to one another
meeting for all intent and purposes the first time on the day of the wedding.

Proof yet again how incompetent the Border Agency is , when is the Home Office going to act????
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