German, Portuguese Police Bust Nigerian Fake Marriage Gang

A police car is pictured in front of a mosque on July 27, 2016 in Hildesheim. Police had searched a mosque and houses of eight memebrs of 'German speaking Islamic circle of Hildesheim. / AFP / dpa / Julian Stratenschulte / Germany OUT (Photo credit should read JULIAN STRATENSCHULTE/AFP/Getty Images)
JULIAN STRATENSCHULTE/AFP/Getty Images

BERLIN (AP) — Police in Germany and Portugal have raided properties linked to a gang suspected of arranging fake marriages in order to make it easier for Nigerians to come to Europe.

Berlin police say they searched 41 homes and offices in the German capital early Tuesday, arresting five people. Officers also seized passports, European Union residency permits, cell phones and storage devices.

Simultaneous operations took place in Portugal.

German federal police spokesman Jens Schobranski said the suspects detained are a 50-year-old Nigerian man, two Nigerian women aged 46 and 50, and two German women aged 55 and 64.

They are accused of selling certificates to Nigerian men documenting fake marriages with Portuguese women in more than 70 cases, taking up to 13,000 euros ($15,600) each time.

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