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Mohammed Mattar, 61, is accused of conducting bogus cermonies at the Dar Al Dawa Islamic Centre

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What is a sham marriage?

When a non-European national marries someone from the European Economic Area as a means of attempting to gain long-term residency and the right to work and claim benefits in the UK.

An imam from Kilburn has been charged with carrying out a series of sham marriages at an Islamic centre in Westbourne Grove.

Mohammed Mattar, of Maygrove Road, is accused of conspiracy to facilitate a breach of the UK’s immigration laws by conducting the bogus ceremonies at the Dar Al Dawa Islamic Centre.

The 61-year-old is also charged with money laundering, relating to the alleged transfer of £1.9 million to an Egyptian bank account in his name.

Mattar acted as an imam at the centre between January 2008 and July last year.

He was arrested by officers from the UK Border Agency’s Criminal and Financial Investigations Team at the Islamic Centre last July, and was bailed to return to police station on Monday where he was charged.

Mattar will appear at West London Magistrates Court on April 15.

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