The Sun: Criminal gang exposed. Thousands bought false Romanian passports to work illegally in the UK
A bombshell investigation has shown how crooks arrange false papers for Russian, Ukrainian and eastern European nationals so they can work in countries like the UK, thesun.co.uk reports.
The gang are so brazen they even advertise their services in a Russian-language London newspaper and told one undercover journalist: “It’s almost legal.”
A Romanian passport gives the migrants free access through Europe’s open borders to live and work in this country.
Since movement restrictions on Romanians were lifted in 2014, 350,000 have been given the right to employment in Britain.
One member of the criminal network boasted how thousands had bought Romanian passports through their service.
Led by mastermind Grigory Volkov, the gang arranged false papers for reporter Katerina Kravtsova and gave her a cover story to peddle if challenged.
Volkov has seven citizenships and sat in on her appointment at the Ministry of Justice office in the town of Galati, which lies on the border with Moldova and Ukraine.
Ms Kravtsova wrote in The Times: “Under the gaze of his henchmen, Grigory Volkov handed out packs of documents to those who had paid to obtain Romanian citizenship illegally and fulfil their dream of a life in Britain, Germany or Italy.
She added: “I had travelled to Galati having seen advertisements in Angliya, a Russian newspaper in London, offering ‘legal help to prepare documents for getting Romanian citizenship’.”
London-based fixer Oleg Grishko met Ms Kravtsova, who has no Romanian heritage, in the UK’s capital before arranging her trip to the Eastern European nation.
In hidden camera footage shot in a Pret a Manger, he boasted: “It’s 100 per cent that you will get the citizenship, it’s almost legal.”
He even introduced Ms Kravtsova to a customer who had already successfully obtained a Romanian passport.
Nadezhda Veleva was recorded saying: “Everyone in our family will be Romanian soon. But I am 100 per cent Ukrainian.”
The scam was based on a law that grants citizenship to people with ancestors from “greater Romania”, an area brought under brutal Stalinist rule during World War Two and now part of Moldova.
The scammers simply falsified papers so clients could wrongly claim to have ancestors robbed of Romanian citizenship by the Soviet Union, the quoted paper informs.