British vicar convicted for illegal migrant sham marriages

29th July 2010, Comments 0 comments

A British jury on Thursday found a vicar guilty of overseeing sham marriages of illegal migrants to help them stay in the country.

Reverend Alex Brown, 61, conducted 383 marriages at his church in East Sussex, southern England, between July 2005 and July 2009 -- a dramatic increase in the number of ceremonies held there compared to previous years.

Prosecutors believe most were shams, claiming that hard-up migrants from eastern Europe were persuaded to marry African migrants, mainly from Nigeria, for up to 3,000 pounds (4,700 dollars, 3,500 euros).

Following a seven-week trial at Lewes Crown Court, a jury found Brown guilty of conspiring to facilitate the commission of breaches of immigration laws, along with co-defendents Michael Adelasoye, 50, and Vladymyr Buchak, 33.

They will be sentenced in September.

© 2010 AFP

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