A local man accused of acting as middleman in a fake marriage is in police custody, after the bride told investigators he made an offer she couldn’t refuse.
Police said a 37-year-old suspect, described as Greek Cypriot male from Nicosia, was arrested on Sunday evening in connection with an ongoing investigation into possible marriage fraud and human trafficking.
The case was reported in the media last week, when a 21-year-old male from Pakistan was arrested in Larnaca by immigration police officers on suspicions he had a sham marriage with a 19-year-old female from Europe.
The investigation was reportedly triggered by “unsatisfactory answers” during her personal interview with local authorities, with the woman admitting to police that her marriage to the young man from Pakistan was fake.
The Greek Cypriot suspect was aware of the bride's economic hardship and offered her money if she could enter a sham marriage
The bride, described as a citizen of the European Union, reportedly told police investigators she had known the Greek Cypriot suspect for a few years. She said the male acquaintance was aware of her financial difficulties and suggested last May that she could enter a sham marriage to make some money.
The 19-year-old woman said the Greek Cypriot suspect promised her between €1300 and €1500 if she would go ahead and marry the man from Pakistan. He also offered to pay her €200 each month until they couple stayed married, up until their divorce which could take some four months later.
The bride is a possible trafficking victim as she is being handled by CID Larnaca together with the Office of Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, a special unit within Cyprus police.
Charges in the case include conspiracy to commit a felony, human trafficking and exploitation, assisting in unlawful entry, marriage fraud, and registration on false pretences.
The 37-year-old is scheduled to appear in Larnaca District Court on Monday where he is expected to be remanded in custody.