Rotherham semi was ‘engine room’ of Asian sham marriage gang

A Rotherham address was at the centre of a sham marriage immigration scam
A Rotherham address was at the centre of a sham marriage immigration scam
Have your say

A FATHER of five who ran a massive international sham marriage operation from his suburban family home in South Yorkshire is facing a jail sentence.

Immigrant Talib Hussain, 42, flew Eastern European women to Islamabad for bogus weddings with Pakistani men, who could then apply to live in the UK under European open borders laws.

Helped by his ex-wife, Rahina Zaman, he orchestrated the “huge, well-organised, professional operation” from his suburban semi in Rotherham, Sheffield Crown Court heard.

More than 60 applications for UK visas were submitted to authorities, accompanied by fake documents and photos of the bogus weddings.

But the UK Border Agency became suspicious when they noticed the same people appeared in many of the photos - and the same clothes were being swapped between brides, grooms and guests to make the pictures look genuine.

The couple and seven other members of the network appeared at Sheffield Crown Court today and will be sentenced for immigration offences tomorrow.

Nine others who were connected to the conspiracy are also due to be sentenced at a separate hearing tomorrow.

Sarah Wright, prosecuting, said by marrying women from the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Britain, the Asian men would have been eligible to move to Europe, and wanted to live in the UK.

While it was not clear how much Hussain made from pairing up the couples, it was run at “considerable expense”, she added.

Ms Wright said: “This was a huge, well-organised and professional operation.

“At the very hub of this conspiracy and running the operation was Talib Hussain, assisted by other offenders including his wife, Rahina Zaman. The conspiracy was a significant one.

“The likelihood is that he was charging considerable sums to Pakistani nationals who wanted to live in the UK.”

“The applications were supported by false documents and were also accompanied by false wedding photos.

“Similar clothing appears in many of the wedding photos. It’s clearly been provided to make the photographs look legitimate.”

Thousands of documents were found when Hussain’s house was searched, proving it was the “control centre” for a massive network of fake brides and minders who accompanied them on flights to Pakistan, she added.

“The marriages were undertaken solely for immigration purposes and are therefore sham marriages,” said Ms Wright.

“His house, 27 Broom Grove, became the engine room for this conspiracy.”

Since the offence, Hussain, who entered the UK on a spouse visa in 1998, and Zaman have divorced and his house has been repossessed, the court was told.

Both pleaded guilty to breaching UK immigration law shortly before they were due to go on trial.

Hussain’s brother-in-law, Mohammad Ramzan who lived in a house opposite, acted as a sponsor for two bogus applications.

Ramzan, 59, who is on benefits, had 120 fake documents stored in his loft, the court heard, and also appeared in the dock today.

He denied the same charge but was found guilty after a trial.

Five interpreters were used during today’s sentencing hearing, which will resume tomorrow.

Other members of the organisation included Aftab Hussain, who acted as a minder when the women were flown to Pakistan, and Peter Pohldoko, who were both described as “facilitators” and will be sentenced for conspiring to break immigration laws.

Eva Holubova, Nadia Qureshi, Khalda Ahmed and Sabiha Bono Khan were said to have acted as sponsors and will be sentenced as part of the same case tomorrow.