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CPS statement on conviction of Brown, Buchak and Adelasoye

29/07/2010

Ken Goss, of the Crown Prosecution Service South East Complex Casework Unit, said: "This was a carefully planned massive immigration fraud - as far as we know, it was the largest sham marriages scam that we have prosecuted. The motive for the EU nationals was money and the motive for the mostly Nigerian nationals was ultimately to gain entry and residency in the UK. Everyone was aware of each of their roles and that what they were doing was unlawful.

"Adelasoye should have told the people he advised to contact the authorities, but he didn't. Instead he forwarded the details of the marriages orchestrated by Buchak to the Home Office. Buchak was one of the organisers and fully exploited others. Reverend Brown was well aware that the majority of these marriages were shams.

"Unusually, in Reverend Brown's case, we prosecuted under the Marriage Act 1949, saying that he deliberately failed to follow the correct procedures, which had the effect of concealing the true scale of what was happening from the regular congregation. He also failed to make periodic returns to the church authorities, which would have alerted them to dramatic increase in the number of weddings being conducted by him. However, he continued to assure the church authorities that all was in order and use his knowledge to flout the checks in place. After his arrest the weddings between foreign nationals at St Peter's church came to an abrupt halt.

"This painstaking investigation and successful prosecution has halted a deliberate and systematic abuse of the immigration laws of this country. It is an excellent example of partnership working between the UK Border Agency and the Crown Prosecution Service."

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