French gang 'ran UK illegal immigrantmarriage scam'

29th September 2004, Comments 0 comments

SAINT-ETIENNE, France, Sept 28 (AFP) - French police have dismantled a ring that arranged dozens of marriages of convenience aimed at providing illegal immigrants in Britain with European Union residency papers, officials said Tuesday.

SAINT-ETIENNE, France, Sept 28 (AFP) - French police have dismantled a ring that arranged dozens of marriages of convenience aimed at providing illegal immigrants in Britain with European Union residency papers, officials said Tuesday.  

"These marriages of convenience with a European Union citizen allowed foreign (non-EU) citizens to legally stay on British soil and find jobs without any problem," one French official said.  

The gang, headed by a 25-year-old man living in the southeastern French town of Saint-Etienne, recruited French women willing to be paid to marry men from North Africa, Egypt and Pakistan who wanted to stay in Britain, they said.  

EU law gives non-European spouses of EU citizens the right to live and work in the 25-nation bloc. The process is somewhat faster when the couple live in an EU country that is not the country of origin of the EU spouse.  

Officers said seven people had been arrested, starting with the ringleader, who was detained on September 16 as he prepared to board a plane to London with two accomplices and a woman heading off to be married.  

The other three - two women and a man, all in their mid-20s - were arrested early Tuesday at their homes.  

Police suspect around 30 sham marriages have been arranged so far and are investigating the extent of the network.

 

© AFP

Subject: French News

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