A London man has been jailed after masterminding a ‘conveyor belt’ sham marriage scheme.
Tevfick Souleiman, 39, received ten year s for his part in a multi-million pound scheme which staged thousands of fake marriages between 2004 and 2011.
Scam brides were flown in from Bulgaria, Romania and the Baltic, housed in a tower block and then married to men they had never met from outside the EU. They were then flown home again the following day.
The supposed grooms paid up to £14,000 for the service, which allowed them to live in Britain as a result thanks to EU regulations.
According to a report in the Telegraph, participants included members of the Albanian Mafia. The scam was uncovered by detectives investigating a huge cocaine seizure involving the Albanian criminal fraternity.
Souleiman was found guilty of conspiracy to breach immigration laws and of receiving the proceeds of crime.
Co-conspirators Cenk Guclu and Furrah Kosimov were jailed for nine years, the latter in his absence as he has fled he country.
Judge John Bevan QC said the case amounted to a “systematic perverting of the processes of the UK Border Agency over a period of years”.
He added that it also:
“…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.”
Souleiman’s wife works for the Crown Prosecution Service.