Wembley immigration adviser jailed for his role in £20m marriage scam
- Credit: Archant
Furrah Kosimov, of Rosebank Avenue, jumped bail and was trialled in his absence
An immigration adviser from Wembley who took part in a £20million marriage scam will go to jail for nine years – once he is caught.
Furrah Kosimov, of Rosebank Avenue, is believed to have fled to his native Uzbekistan while on bail but was trialled in his absence.
The Old Bailey heard was one of four men behind an audacious racket at Souleiman GA Solicitors, north London, where men would pay up to £14,000 for a ‘wedding package’.
The 29-year-old was sentenced today after being convicted of conspiracy to breach immigration law last week.
Juror were told the actions of Kosimov, solicitor Tevfick Souleiman, 39, from Hatfield, Hertfordshire, and immigration advisers Cenk Guclu, 41, from Enfield, north London, and Zafer Altinbas, 38, from Islington, allowed an estimated 1,800 men, including members of the Albanian mafia, to live in Britain by taking part in sham marriages arranged by the quartet.
Women from eastern European countries were flown to Britain to marry men from outside the EU.
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They turned up at register offices having never met, and were sometimes unable to speak a common language.
The packages supplied to the men included fake tenancy agreements, employer’s references and forged documents.
And to convince officials that their marriages were genuine, there would also be a Mills and Boon-type love story scripted for them.
Clients would come in from as far as Devon and Scotland and marriages would take place in a number of registrars’ offices.
Nicholas Mather, prosecuting, said the marriages were going ahead despite the regular use of same addresses and a number of errors on applications.
The men had taken 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”.
Mr Mather said other work of the solicitors, such as conveyancing, was legitimate.
The racket was uncovered after British police cracked an Albanian drugs and money laundering gang in London. The brothers at the head had undergone marriages arranged by the firm.
Only £2m of unexplained income had been found in bank accounts. The rest is thought to have been smuggled out of the country.
Kosimov, Guclu and Souleiman were convicted of convicted of conspiracy to breach immigration law and money laundering.
Guclu and Souleiman were also found guilty of receiving proceeds of crime
Altinbas pleaded guilty to conspiracy to breach immigration law and receiving money from the proceeds of crime as the trial started.
Sentencing the gang to a total of 35 years and three months, Judge John Bevan it would be hard to find a similar scam on the same scale and sophistication.
He added: “A heavy responsibility for upholding the law rests with the lawyers.
“If the public cannot trust them, who can they trust. You have destroyed that trust by driving a coach and horses through these rules.”
The hunt continues to track down Kosimov.
Detective Superintendent Caroline Barker, investigating officer, said: “I would also like to appeal for help in tracing Farruh Kosimov, who is originally from Uzbekistan.”
Anyone with information about the whereabouts of Kosimov can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”
To see the images of Kosimov’s accomplices and the details of their jail sentences click on the picture gallery at the top right.