Man denies taking cash for sham marriages

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A SLOVAKIAN national has denied receiving money for or being involved in any way in “sham marriages” to help Pakistani men stay in the UK.

Lukas Murgos, was one of the guests arrested in March at Leeds Register Office when police and immigration officials thwarted an arranged wedding between Slovakian Maria Racova and a Pakistani man Muhammad Usman.

But he said he had understood the marriage to be genuine.

“Were you interested in the wedding or what was happening afterwards?” asked his counsel, Nigel Edwards.

“I was interested in what was happening afterwards, I thought we would go for a p***-up,” Murgos said through an interpreter.

He told the court the previous October he had attended the wedding of Zlatica Holubova to Farrukh Khan in Bradford after being told the day before she was getting married. Everything seemed normal and afterwards they had a buffet at an Asian restaurant.

When she returned to her home without her new husband he told the jury: “I didn’t think anything about it. Young people make up their own minds about things.”

Murgos, 22, Zlatica Holubova, 29, both of Brompton Road, East Bowling, Bradford, Syed Gardezi, 21, of Lambton Terrace, Leeds and Eva Facunova, 32, of Vivian Place, Little Horton, Bradford, each deny conspiracy to breach immigration law involving four sham or planned marriages.

Racova, Usman, Khan and two others have admitted the charge.

The trial continues on Monday.