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Cyprus

Saga of Bulgarian women duped into fake marriages continues

By Constantinos Psillides

NEW developments have surfaced in the case of the fake marriages ring uncovered by police last week.

According to a police report, three of the Bulgarian women arrested in connection with the case were unknowingly married to Pakistani nationals. The women said that they had signed documents they thought were work contracts, only to find out later they were marriage permits.

Police arrested eight women from Bulgaria last week, as well as two Pakistani nationals, a 33-year old Greek Cypriot and two lawyers, suspected to be members of a the scam. The arrested were suspected of tricking women from eastern European countries, promising to provide them with employment.

“These are poor women, mostly uneducated and some even homeless. They were a promised a job in Cyprus,” said Limassol police spokesman Ioannis Soteriades, adding that the police considers this a very serious case.

The fraudsters were allegedly arranging marriages between women from Bulgaria and Romania with Pakistani immigrants, so the latter could travel and work freely within the European Union as a family member of an EU citizen.

The 33-year old seems to be cooperating with the police, providing information on the activities of the ring. The two lawyers seem to have been cooperating with the 33-year old and the two Pakistanis, arranging all the necessary paperwork, such as applications to the Immigration Services and marriage documents. The lawyers appear to have been charging the Pakistani nationals €2,000 for every marriage and €100 for every additional document. Most of the documents appear to be forgeries, as a number of stamps were found in the possession of the 33-year old.

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