Five out of the seven defendants, among them a former policeman, who were arrested for their involvement in an illegal Hellenization ring related to the fraudulent issuance of identity cards and passports, were held as temporary prisoners.
According to a report from GR Times, the seven persons were prosecuted for being head of and joining the criminal organisation and other activities, such as facilitating exit from the country, money laundering, and facilitating residence in this territory, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
The investigation started on February 9 this year, while the preliminary investigation discovered the formation as well as operation of a criminal organisation, which consisted of Greek expatriates originating from states of the former Soviet Union and a police officer involved in the illegal issuance of Greek identity cards and passports to foreigners from third countries.
Persons who acquired citizenship with the help of the defendants enjoyed the freedom of movement in the Schengen Zone countries, while the defendants also had the possibility of issuing other public documents such as driver’s licenses, VAT numbers, and AMKA, among others.
According to the report from GR Times, the cost for each identity card or passport issued amounted to at least €15,000, while the illegal financial benefit that appears to have been obtained by the criminal organisation is estimated to be over €200,000.
Cases involving fraudulent activities related to documents such as identity cards, driver’s licenses and passports are often present in European countries.
In May this year, the National Police of Spain, through a joint operation with the Customs Supervision of the Tax Agency, arrested 64 people who held fake documents such as passport and identity cards, among others, in order to be permitted to move freely within the borderless area of Schengen.
Furthermore, the Spanish Interior Ministry, through a statement, noted that police officers and agents of the country’s National Tax Agency seized 136 fake documents, all of which had European citizenship and were acquired through social networks at the cost of €1,000 to €3,000.
In February this year, a report from the Times of India revealed that human smugglers are using fake Portuguese identities for their clients to send them to Portugal and, from then, to the US.
The report noted that by establishing a Portuguese identity, which allows them to travel to all the borderless area countries, the immigrants are also eligible to travel to the United States easily.
Authorities in Portugal are also dealing with an increased number of people who attempt to reach and reside in this country unlawfully.