News and Views
Four fake brides and a fixer: Jailed gang arranged sham marriages between Nigerian and Hungarian
Four fake brides and an ex-security guard fixer involved in an eight-month sham marriage scam have been jailed.
Azuha Izegbune, 38, was the mastermind of the visa con – which saw fake weddings staged at registry offices in Birmingham, Stoke and Glasgow.
The former security guard from Birmingham, West Midlands, was paid to arrange fake weddings between Hungarian and Nigerian nationals so they could remain in the UK.
The weddings were arranged so both brides and grooms could secure European Area Residence Cards.
Some of the grooms were flown in to the UK just hours before the fake ceremonies took place.
Following a Home Office probe, the scam was exposed – and those involved have now been sentenced to a total of nine years in jail at Birmingham Crown Court.
Sentencing, Judge Elizabeth Stacey said Izegbune had undermined the UK’s border controls and described him as ‘the lynch-pin, the organiser and the fixer’ of an eight-month conspiracy between December 2012 and September 2013.
She said: ‘You met registrars, bought plane tickets, acted as witness and interpreter and recruited Ivett Szanto to help you find Hungarian grooms and brides.
‘I have read the wonderful testimonies about you. It’s just desperately sad that you have used your considerable charm and skills to take part in these activities.’
Izegbune is himself married to a Hungarian and has lived legally in the UK since 2009 with dual Nigerian and Hungarian nationality.
The father-of-two was jailed for 31 months after pleading guilty to five counts of conspiracy to facilitate a breach of UK immigration law.
Meanwhile, Hungarian national Ivett Szanto, 31, admitted taking part in one fake marriage with a Nigerian man who was also seeking a visa.
She had conspired with Nigerian-born ringleader Izegbune to help set up two further marriages with men she knew from her native Budapest.