Cyprus Mail

Sham marriage suspects plead not guilty

Five men from Bangladesh and four women from Bulgaria pleaded not guilty on Monday to charges relating to sham marriages that allegedly took place in Larnaca and Nicosia between February and July this year.

The case was adjourned until September 7. The suspects will remain in custody until then.

They were arrested in July after police, acting on a tip, located a Bangladeshi man with four Bulgarian women in a flat in Larnaca.

The women told officers that they had agreed to come to Cyprus and get married to unknown individuals due to their bad financial situation.

They said they got paid €1,000. The plan was to return to their country after the wedding.

The transaction was facilitated by a female compatriot who lives in Bulgaria against whom police issued an arrest warrant.

One of the women told police she had been approached by a woman in Bulgaria who offered her and her sister €2,000 each to come to Cyprus and conduct a sham marriage.

The four women were initially taken to a shelter for victims of human trafficking but following further questioning, it emerged they were not victims, but were actively participating in the commission of the offences and they were arrested.

One of the men told police he married the wanted Bulgarian woman who facilitated the transactions in April.

He claimed he paid two other suspects €4,000 to arrange for him to marry a European citizen.

They brought him in touch with the wanted woman whom he married at the Aradhippou town hall.

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