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Six charged with trading in forged European visas.

Summary: DUBAI u The Dubai Naturalisation and Residency Prosecution recently referred to the Naturalization and Residency Court six defendants in a case of forgery by an administrative consultancy office of European visas for Dh10,000 per visa, the prosecution head revealed.

Ali Humaid bin Khatem, head of the Naturalisation and Residency Prosecution, said that the office owner started the business after obtaining a license using the description of administrative consultancy to camouflage his actual activities, which were trading in forged European visas.

Bin Khatem said the authorities came to know about the malpractices after they received a complaint from a European consulate against individuals filing for European visas with forged residence visas stamped on their passports.

oThe same office posted an advertisement in a local paper in which it alleged that it could issue European visas for sums of money. The advertisement was a bait to lure victims,o Chief Prosecutor Khatem explained.

He added that the Follow-up and Investigation Section at the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs verified the tip-off and C the advertisement.

oAfter locating the firm, our officers went to the premises where they arrested the owner and his assistant, both Pakistani nationals. Additionally, four other people, whose passports were given in order to obtain the European visas, were also C apprehended.o A thorough search was conducted on the premises, including its computers. They were found to contain programmes used to commit forgery and copies of passports and statements of accounts, indicating that the work in the office was relatively recent.

Through investigation, it was found that one of the four who had applied for a European visa was on a visit visa in the country and could not apply for a European visa. Accordingly, a residence visa was forged showing him as a worker in the UAE.

The three others were on low-income residence visas. Their visas were hence modified into visas belonging to executives and partners so as to get the approval of the consulate.

The office had also arranged to produce their bank statements and business licenses, all forged.

The prosecution charged the office owner with forgery. The others were charged with criminal complicity. Bin Khatem warned the public not to be fooled by such advertisements, the main aim of which is financial gain.

He urged people to resort to official channels for obtaining visas. oSuch practices could also result in legal action considering that the visas they are applying for are not legal,o C he concluded.

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Publication:Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Date:Apr 10, 2010
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