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German police smash people-smuggling ring

German police smash people-smuggling ring

Authorities allege that a number of Indian nationals sought residency in Germany using falsified Greek visas and fake marriage certificates claiming they had Romanian brides. The key suspect faces serious charges.

German federal police arrested the alleged head of a human-trafficking ring in the western city of Essen.

The 21-year-old Indian national faces charges of running a commercially sized people-smuggling ring and falsifying documents. The suspect allegedly provided fake documents that would guarantee residency in Germany for a fee of between €14,000 and €17,000 ($16,400 and $19,900).

“He is accused in numerous cases of providing Indian compatriots with falsified Greek visas to enable them to enter the Schengen Area,” said state prosecutors, referring to Europe’s nominally free-movement zone for people, goods, services and capital.

“Those smuggled presented the falsified documents at municipal German registry offices and thereby obtained residency in Germany and permission to work.”

The smuggler is also accused of obtaining falsified Romanian marriage certificates and brokering “Romanian nationals as purported wives,” the authorities said.

If the men were legally married to Romanian — and therefore EU — citizens, then they would be entitled to work and residency permits in Germany.