Over 1,000 Indians “buy” Portuguese nationalities on black market

The price of Portuguese nationality on the black market ranges from €7,000-€10,000, reports Diário de Notícias today – revealing that “at least 1,000 Indians are now circulating around Europe, the US and Canada” as “false” Portuguese citizens.

The issue is not about Portuguese nationality being sought by foreigners who want to live in Portugal. It centres on the papers being a gateway to Europe and the rest of the world.

DN reveals the extent of the corruption in a story centring on recent arrests by border control agency SEF.

The transnational network involved the use of data belonging to real Indians born in the former Portuguese territories of Goa, Daman and Diu.

The forgers used birth certificates to cleverly recreate identities.

As DN explains, “passports, citizens’ identity cards and other Portuguese documentation were issued”.

The scam earned its key players fortunes as Indians clamoured for the easy way into Europe.

For now, three people have been taken into custody, with another five made “arguidos” (official suspects).

All those involved, say DN, are from India and Pakistan, with one “resident in UK”. This last was arrested after coming to Lisbon “on business”, adds the paper.

Apparently, the background to these arrests followed the arrival of six Indians into the US on what authorities there swiftly deduced were “fraudulent passports”.

The US then crossed data with SEF in Portugal, which led to this week’s arrests – and the grim realisation that up to 1,000 illegal Indians are now living as Portuguese nationals in both the US and Canada, as well as UK.

But as this raises questions over the possibility that any of these “illegals” could be terrorists, SEF’s António Patrício – responsible for the agency’s investigative department – said: “This network was just about illegal immigration and the falsification of documents.”

What it means for the future of those who have already gained entry into Europe and beyond is anyone’s guess. The authorities now would appear to be on to them.

Patrício told DN: “If they come to present their papers at an airport, or similar place in any of these countries, their documents will be apprehended.”

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