Seven people are remanded on sham marriages charge

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Staff reporter

A TOTAL of seven people have been remanded in custody charged with conspiracy to arrange sham marriages.

The court appearances followed a raid by immigration officials and the police at Wrexham Register Office on Tuesday when two couples who were about to be married were arrested along with others present.

It is alleged two men, both Indian nationals, were due to be married to two Lithuanian women and they could only communicate with each other through interpreters.

Concerned staff are said to have raised the alarm and officers from the UK Border Agency arrested a total of eight people as the two weddings were about to take place.

District Judge Andrew Shaw today remanded seven people in custody at Flintshire Magistrates Court at Mold. They will all appear at a preliminary hearing at Mold Crown Court next week.

Bridegrooms Manpreet Singh, 27, of Wolverhampton, whose working holiday visa in the UK is said to have expired, and Jasbir Singh, 21, also of Wolverhampton, whose student visa has already expired, were remanded in custody together their brides-to-be Oskana Alexsandraviciute, 27, and Sandra Beleckaite, 21, of Wolverhampton.

The women are both Lithuanian nationals who as European Union residents are free to live in the UK.

Also charged are a British citizen, businessman Jasbir Sahota, 51, of Wolverhampton, who runs an estate agency and letting agency in the town; and Lithuanian nationals Andrea Stepanov, 28, and Antannas Beleckas, 27, also of Wolverhampton.

All seven are charged that on August 30 they conspired together to arrange the weddings of the two Mr Singhs to facilitate the commission of an immigration offence.

Applications for bail on behalf of Sahota and Stepanov were rejected. The others did not apply for bail.

An eighth person has been bailed and the investigation is continuing.

Documents, mobile phones and £1,000 in cash were also seized during the investigation.

A UK Border Agency spokesman said: “The UK Border Agency’s immigration crime team, supported by the police, carried out an operation at Wrexham Register Office on Tuesday, August 30. Eight people – seven foreign nationals and one man from the UK – were arrested on suspicion of facilitating illegal immigration."

See full story in the Leader

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