Friday, December 2, 2022

SBU uncovers international criminal group that helped smuggle migrants to Europe

by Anastasiia LapatinaDecember 17, 2021 4:57 pm
Share
Fake documents, phones and SIM cards were obtained by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) after they uncovered an international criminal network which sold fake documents to help legalize illegal migrants in Europe on Dec. 16, 2021. (ssu.gov.ua)

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) said on Dec. 16 that it had liquidated an international criminal network in Kyiv Oblast, which illegally legalized foreigners in the European Union.

The SBU uncovered a secret printing house that supplied fake documents used to stay in the EU to individuals from the Middle Eastern region, as well as Afghanistan, Somalia, and other countries. 

“It was established that the members of the group produced fake European permanent residence permits, driver's licenses and ID-cards for their clients. Communication with customers of fake documents was maintained through an undercover call center,” the SBU said. 

The criminal group had at least 1,000 foreign clients, according to the statement. Preliminary investigation estimates that the cost of printing and other tools used to forge documents is around Hr 40 million ($1.48 million). 

During the searches, the SBU found fake documents prepared to be sent abroad, as well as the equipment for making those documents. They also found forms, seals and devices for holographic signs, means of communication with evidence of illegal activity, electronic client database, as well as money that was allegedly obtained through criminal means.

The SBU said the pre-trial investigation is underway, and they are currently working on issuing notices of suspicion and possibly detaining those who were involved in the group’s criminal activity. 

Anastasiia Lapatina
Anastasiia Lapatina
National reporter

Anastasiia Lapatina is a national reporter at the Kyiv Independent. She previously worked in the same role at the Kyiv Post and has focused on politics and human rights, publishing stories about Crimea, Donbas, and Ukrainians in conflict zones such as Afghanistan, Syria, and Gaza. She’s currently finishing a BA in International Relations at the University of British Columbia in Canada.

Independent journalism
for an independent Ukraine
Independence is an expensive currency. Both Ukraine and its journalists are paying a high price to preserve its independence. Support Ukraine's trusted journalism in its darkest hour.