Three arrested for smuggling migrants

Athens police arrested three men accused of helping illegal migrants fly to other parts of the European Union for a fee ranging from € 4,500 to € 6,000 per person.

Police said Saturday that the suspects – identified only foreigners – were supplying their clients with valid IDs or passports stolen from people who look like them, or fake documents that could allow them to travel.

Investigators, who were informed about the activities of the criminal organization, also found that money for transporting illegal immigrants was paid through an informal money transfer system known as hawala *, in which a network of brokers is involved.

Some clients were also provided with two sets of travel documents that would allow them to change identity when moving to their final destination. The police seized 31 identity cards belonging to citizens of Greece and other European countries, nine EU passports and two residence permits.

According to information from police sources, theft of documents on order has become more frequent in recent years, which then surface in such criminal organizations.

* Hawala (Arabic حوالة “transfer”) is an informal financial settlement system based on the offset of claims and obligations between brokers, used mainly in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

The system was formed in Hindustan long before the emergence of Western banking and before the spread of Western banking in the Middle East. This system of payments is used mainly by immigrants who earn money in the West and send money to their relatives.

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