Tuesday 20 August 2019

25 people to be deported after major probe into taxi scam

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Wayne O'Connor

Wayne O'Connor

Evidence gathered during a major probe in to a taxi scam has led to 25 people being issued with deportation orders for having no legal status in Ireland.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said the deportations came as part of a multi-agency response to an investigation that uncovered illegal immigrants using fraudulent applications to obtain taxi licenses.

A total of 64 licenses have been revoked.

The operation has led to 15 cases where “marriages of convenience” have also been investigated for suspected fraud.

It follows on from a multi agency operation earlier this month that saw searches carried out across Dublin.

He said the operation, which took place on March 5, saw 10 properties searched on March 5.

The day of action was part of Operation Vantage, a four year-long enquiry by the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) in conjunction with the Carriage Office, the National Transport Authority and the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service.

It has uncovered widespread immigration fraud which is generating millions for organised crime gangs.

Gardaí had uncovered evidence of a major scam in which 180 non-EU nationals obtained taxi licences using fraudulent PSV applications despite having no legal status in this country.

Mr Flanagan today  told the Dáil 134 cases have been uncovered where the immigration status of public service vehicle (PSV) licence holders or applicants “is of some concern”.

“Of those 134 cases, a total of 64 investigations have been finalised by the GNIB and forwarded to INIS (the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service) for consideration of or revocation of their immigration permission,” he said.

“To date, 25 deportation proceedings have commenced from these cases. A number of arrests have taken place and a number of persons have been or are in the process of being deported.

“A further 15 have been investigated where marriages of convenience or fraud have been suspected.”

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