A marriage with a Ukrainian woman for a British citizen turned out to be more than sad – he lost a quarter of a million euros, and the wife turned out to be a completely different woman. Now he complains, “I was so stupid.”
The BBC tells about the events, without giving the true name of the Briton, but after checking the documents provided to them and making sure of the reality of what happened. Let’s call the loser James.
In July 2017, 52-year-old Briton James declared his love to 20-year-old beauty Irina and proposed to her. He sincerely believed that from now on a new life began, which they would live happily ever after together. But … alas, the reality turned out to be completely unpredictable. On the night of his wedding, he found himself alone in a hospital bed, already as a married man, but his wife turned out to be a completely different woman. But first things first.
Ukraine is famous for beautiful and affectionate women who make excellent wives. European men are willing to pay thousands of euros to dating agencies, and this is often the way they find their future wives. However, James did not come to Odessa in search of his beloved. An employee of a charity organization, permanently living in the UK, in 2015 responded to a friend’s request for help in creating a new project – in support of fleeing children from the conflict zone in eastern Ukraine.
Such work was new for James, and he plunged into it. The translator Julia helped him. For several months, he combined volunteer work in Odessa with permanent work in the UK, making frequent trips between countries. On one of the winter days, when a snowfall suspended work on the project, Yulia offered to spend time with one of her friends. She turned out to be Irina from Donetsk, to whom later James made an offer.
Irina and Julia
Twenty years younger than him, the girl looked adorable. The Briton recalls:
“She immediately told me about her two previous marriages and why she did not want to marry a Ukrainian again.”
Events developed rapidly, James physically felt a spark running between them. They walked for a long time every day, and each time the third on the walk was Yulia the translator, who received $ 150 a day for her services. The meetings lasted for half a year, when James was at work in Odessa. However, the matter did not go further than kissing, which, however, even attracted the Briton:
“I thought,“ This is a very high moral standard. She was obviously very well brought up. “
11 months after they met and 8 months before the wedding, the couple celebrated their engagement and planned to leave for the UK in the future.
However, several interviews at the embassies have shown that the bureaucratic obstacles to this are formidable and could take several years. Well, “if the mountain does not go to Magomed …”, then James decided to move to Ukraine. He quit his job, sold the house and started looking for real estate for the “family nest”:
“The purchase was expected,” says James, “because it gives a kind of consistency to the relationship. My friends in the UK thought it was a big step, but they were happy for me that I have a future. “
Transferring money from the UK to Ukraine is not an easy process. Big money attracts attention, and there are limits on the amount. Therefore, James was not surprised when Irina offered him to transfer the $ 200,000 needed to buy a house to the account of her friend Christina’s wedding company. Slightly wary, the man nevertheless transferred the money according to the agreed scheme. And then the oddities began.
Irina announced to the groom that the bank could give him such a large amount only after the wedding with the owner of the company, Christina. However, she assured that this is a simple formality – they will sign in 10 minutes, and after withdrawing the money, they will immediately divorce. At the same time, James was at a dead end – there were only a few days left before their own wedding with Irina, and the girl threatened to end the engagement if by the time of the wedding, her beloved did not have the money to buy a house.
So, the Briton had to marry Christina Stakhova, the owner of a wedding organization, after which the girlfriends reported that they received money and purchased real estate for the full amount. True, a little later it turned out that in fact it cost 60 thousand dollars and became the property of a newly married couple – James and Christina. And this circumstance allowed him to self-critically note: “I was such an idiot.”
The wedding with Irina, to which 60 guests were invited, cost James another $ 20,000. And this is in Ukraine, a country that is cheap by Ukrainian standards! However, only later the Briton realized that this was one of the elements of the fraudulent scheme. Then he did not yet realize that his bride was already married, and a significant event for her happened 3 months before meeting him. As well as Christina, who divorced her husband only for a short time, for a scam with $ 200,000, and after the dissolution of a fraudulent marriage with James, she reconnected with her legal spouse.
Recall that there was no intimate intimacy between the British and the Ukrainian before the wedding, so at the celebration he looked forward to their first wedding night. However, instead he ended up in the hospital – something was mixed with the drinks that he drank during the evening. Irina did not go with him and for the next few weeks she communicated with him only at a distance. She explained that she also ended up in the hospital, but according to the existing rules, he cannot visit her, since he is officially not her husband, but Christina’s.
It is not known how long the period of enlightenment of the Briton, who financially supported his friend who was in the hospital, would have lasted if not a single compassionate Ukrainian who opened his eyes to what was happening. He simply told James about the real cost of the apartment ($ 63,000). Finally, the naive Briton realized that his friends deceived him, making him poorer by $ 250,000.
Just miraculously, James did not fall into a deep depression and focused his energies on seeking justice and getting his money back. He naively believed in the effectiveness of Ukrainian justice:
“I had all the bank documents for transfers and Viber messages between us. I was sure that this would be dealt with. “
Four times he turned to Odessa law enforcement officers, telling about what had happened and providing the evidence he had collected. But more often than not they just laughed in his face. Marriage scams, even such unusual ones, are not on the list of priorities of the Ukrainian police. Anna Koserga, the British lawyer, says:
“There are times here when the police do nothing and do not move. We must constantly ask them to act. “
There is, of course, an option – often only bribery is required, but James categorically refused this. Irina and Kristina were brought in for questioning, but no charges were brought against them. Police declined to comment on James’ case. However, there is some movement in the course of this case – after the recognition of the marriage with Christina as a fictitious Briton, he became the full owner of the apartment, bought for 63 thousand dollars. James cherishes the hope that after the end of the pandemic, its cost will increase. But even in this case, he will not be able to recover even half of the spent quarter of a million dollars …
James says he didn’t just want to tell the BBC his story. He wants to warn those seeking to find romantic relationships in Ukraine. And a small step in this direction has already been taken: the British Foreign Office changed its recommendations for travel to Ukraine, based on its painful and expensive experience. The official website says so:
“There have been cases of marriage fraud and extortion attempts against foreign citizens. Unfortunately, it is very unlikely that you will be able to get your money back if you become a victim of such a scam. If you find yourself in an unpleasant situation and think that you have become a victim of a romantic fraud, do not be ashamed or embarrassed – you are not alone. Contact your bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud. “