In the Media

Lawyer jailed for ?20m sham marriage scam

PUBLISHED February 22, 2013

Monday 25 February 2013 by Catherine Baksi

A London solicitor has been jailed for 10 years for running a £20m sham marriage scam.

Tevfick Souleiman (pictured), partner at north London firm Souleiman GA Solicitors, and immigration advisers Cenk Guclu and Furrah Kosimov, were found guilty at the Central Criminal Court of conspiracy to breach immigration law.

Souleiman, 39, whose wife works for the Crown Prosecution Service, was also convicted of receiving proceeds of crime.

Zafer Altinbas, another of the firm's immigration advisers, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to breach immigration law and to receiving money from the proceeds of crime. All received custodial sentences.

Between 2004 and 2011 the defendants arranged marriage packages for men from outside the EU, providing fake tenancy agreements, employers' references and forged documents.

Women from eastern European countries were flown in to marry men they had never met, and flown out the next day after being paid by the firm. Men paid up to £14,000 for the service, which enabled them to live and claim benefits in the UK.

Sentencing Souleiman, Judge John Bevan QC said: 'A heavy responsibility for upholding the rule of law rests with lawyers. If the public cannot trust the integrity of lawyers, who can they trust? You have destroyed that trust by driving a coach and horses through these rules.'

Hassan Emir, a second partner at Souleiman GA Solicitors, told the Gazette he had joined the firm in 2011 and was not implicated in the case.

A spokesman for the Solicitors Regulation Authority said that now the criminal case has concluded, Souleiman would be referred to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal for investigation.