Shabeena Azhar, led Junior for the Crown, secures multiple convictions in sham marriage case at Croydon Crown Court
Ms Azhar, Joint Head of Chambers, led by Jonathan Polnay for the Crown, prosecuted an all-female gang and an absent male, who were found guilty of conspiring to assist unlawful immigration. The gang flew in brides from Lithuania to marry men from the Indian Subcontinent and West Africa under the guise of a ‘legitimate international dating agency’ to make an estimated £315,000. 26 sham marriages were identified.
Ringleaders Lina Kezelyte, 33, and Mohemmed Jemaldeen, 33, who were sentenced to four and a half and four years in prison respectively, ran the enterprise which was described as a ‘sophisticated’ and a ‘cruel operation, giving false hope to those who were not entitled to have it’.
Valentina Kezeliene, 53, the mother of Lina Kezelyte, laundered money and booked the flights - she received two and a half years in prison. The three others helped move the money and attended and helped set up the sham weddings.
Further information can be found below and at many media websites in this important case.