The German and Portuguese police on Tuesday conducted an operation in several apartments linked to an organization suspected of promoting false marriages to facilitate the arrival of Nigerians to Europe.
Portugal was the recruitment center for an international network of marriages for convenience (better known as white marriages), which in turn enabled illegal immigrants to obtain authorization to stay in Europe.
This group, led by a Nigerian, was investigated by the German authorities and the SEF, and included a national. He had a mission to travel to Portugal to convince women to marry those who needed legal documents to apply for residence or asylum in Europe.
The Portuguese, one of five detainees in Germany during the operation on Tuesday, promised to pay two to three thousand euros to women who agreed to go to the country where the illegal immigrant was located – who paid high get the fictitious wedding – and sign the documents that prove the marriage. Most of the time it was the only time the couple saw each other.
According to the official, the recruitment made by Portuguese – who lived in Germany – was in the Greater Lisbon area, especially in neighborhoods known to have social problems.
“The only phase of the network’s activity in Portugal was that of recruitment.” It is a country of passage, people with economic difficulties may think the risk is small. of the funds involved], “said Paulo Pimenta. According to the SEF inspector, many times “mothers take their daughters to these marriages. Recruitment ends up being done in a very close circle.”
Already in the case of women drug addicts that the network sought the goal was not so much to “marry” them, but to pay them for the documents. “Sometimes they pay them 50 euros for the passport, which is then falsified and used for other activities, so many ask for the documents two or three times saying that they lose them, so they always have one available.”
Hundreds of German police carried out dozens of searches on Tuesday morning for couples who have forged fake marriages for husbands to obtain EU residence permits.
About 41 apartments were searched in Berlin, Potsdam, Frankfurt and Görlitz.
A man and four women were detained in a police action, although authorities said they had knowledge of at least 70 fake marriages, Deutsche Welle (DW) said on its website. Passports, residence permits, mobile phones and computer equipment were also seized.
A similar operation also took place in Portugal, the Associated Press news agency reported.
German federal police spokesman Jens Schobranski said the suspects are a 50-year-old man, two 46- and 50-year-old Nigerian women, and two German women aged 55 and 64.
The men paid about 13,000 euros for falsified marriage certificates from Nigeria, which were presented to the German authorities and accompanied by an elaborate love story confirmed by the Portuguese “woman.”
Women usually returned to Portugal within a few days.
According to federal police, the searches are designed to determine if the houses indicate that they are occupied by a couple.
The German authorities are cooperating with Europol to prove that marriages are being falsified.
The operation was the second of large scale triggered in recent months by the German police against fraudulent visas.
In June, police dismantled a network of “fake fathers”, whereby German men were paid to include their names on children’s birth certificates of immigrants from Vietnam, various regions of Africa and eastern Europe.
Babies immediately guaranteed German citizenship, allowing their mothers to apply for residence permits. Source Diarios de Noticais