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Cyprus

Four Bangladeshi remanded after sham marriages

Four Bangladeshi men aged 21, 22, and 31 were remanded in custody for six days in Larnaca on Saturday in connection with sham marriages.

The court heard that on Friday evening, immigration officers went to a flat in the coastal town where they found one of the suspects, 21, with four women from Bulgaria.

The women told officers that because of their bad financial situation they had agreed to come to Cyprus and get married to unknown individuals for €1,000. The transaction was facilitated by a female compatriot who lives in Bulgaria.

One of the women named the 21-year-old as her groom. The suspect told officers that he had arrived in Cyprus on February 9, 2015 as a student. His residence permit expires at the end of July next year, the court heard.

The man claimed that he had agreed with one of the other suspects, 22, to arrange a marriage with a European citizen for a fee of €3,000.

Officers then went to a second flat in Larnaca where they located the three other suspects. Police determined that the 31-year-old, who denied any involvement, was the person who drove the four women to the flat from the airport.

The second 22-year-old told police he arrived on the island in December 2015. Since July 13 this year, he has been living in Cyprus without a permit. In a bid to remain in the country, the man also agreed with the 31-year-old to arrange a marriage with an EU citizen for €3,000.

The ceremony took place in Nicosia in February. After that, he only saw the woman he was married to once more, when they went to the migration officer to declare their marriage. As far as he knows, the woman is in Bulgaria, he told police.

According to police, one of the women told them she had been approached by a woman in Bulgaria two weeks ago, and offered her and her sister €2,000 each to come to Cyprus to conduct a sham marriage.

Police said they were trying to locate the woman in Bulgaria as well as any others involved in the case who may be in Cyprus.

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