STAFF REPORTER

PALMA
NATIONAL Police have succeeded in smashing an organised syndicate specialising in arranging sham marriages between Nigerians and Spaniards, some of which had taken place on Majorca.

A total of 35 people have been arrested on suspicion of falsifying papers indicating that couples had got married in church. These certificates were then presented by the newlyweds to civil authorities as application for their “Family Book” officially recognising their union in Spain. Those detained are being charged with fraud, abusing the rights of foreign citizens and receiving money illegally.

According to police sources, the investigation into the syndicate began on Majorca in May this year when a huge number of marriages were being registered between Nigerians and Spaniards. The gang was apparently demanding 10'000 euros from every Nigerian who was on Majorca illegally for papers which would enable them to fraudulently legalise their residency and claim benefit. Some 3'000 euros were then paid to the Spaniard who collaborated in the scam.

The organised syndicate also reportedly engaged in the fraudulent purchase of train and aircraft tickets on the internet using duplicate credit cards. The police identified the “brains” behind the scam as two men - a Nigerian and a Spaniard - known as “Eddie and Raul” who ran a “complicated international racket” from their base in Fuenlabrada on the mainland. Eddie and Raul apparently had close contacts with gypsy communities in the areas of Alcalá de Henares, Torrejón de Ardoz and Madrid, through which they found appropriate Spanish candidates for the wedding setup.

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