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Cyprus Authorities Arrest 15, Including Pakistanis and Indians, in Sham Marriage Ring

European police have successfully dismantled an illegal EU migration ring by arresting 15 members in Cyprus. Europol revealed that the criminal organization orchestrated marriages of convenience between Portuguese and Latvian women and Indian and Pakistani men.

The two main leaders of the ring were apprehended in Latvia and Portugal, while the remaining 13 suspects were arrested in Cyprus, as stated by the European police agency.

Pakistanis, Indians among 15 arrested in Cyprus for involvement in 'sham'  marriages | Arab News PK

The illicit network specialized in facilitating illegal migration into the EU through sham marriages, allowing non-EU nationals to acquire residence permits from third countries, which were then exploited for travel to other European nations.

Europol outlined that the network recruited Latvian and Portuguese nationals, arranging their journeys to Cyprus. In Cyprus, these women participated in arranged marriages with individuals from third countries.

The suspects, primarily citizens of India, Pakistan, and Portugal, managed all logistical aspects, including purchasing flight tickets and acquiring passports and other necessary documents.

The criminal network, aside from its involvement in sham marriages, was also implicated in human trafficking and money laundering activities. The ceremonies for these fraudulent marriages took place in town halls located around the cities of Larnaca and Nicosia in Cyprus.

The individuals arrested in Cyprus are currently in custody, held by a Larnaca District Court until February 7. Extradition proceedings have already commenced for suspects apprehended in Latvia and Portugal, highlighting the international collaboration in dismantling this transnational criminal network. The arrests underscore the commitment of European authorities to combat illegal migration and related criminal activities within the region.

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