Latvija in brief - 2010-01-27

  • 2010-01-27

Women from Eastern Europe are being paid up to 10,000 euros for bogus marriages in Ireland to mostly Muslim Asian men, reports LETA. A Pakistani man’s plans to marry a Lithuanian teenager this week were canceled after Irish police objected to the marriage. The objection was lodged on the basis that immigration officials believed it would be a marriage of convenience for residency purposes. Muhammad Shafi was fined 250 euros in court for the offense. He had plead guilty to possessing false Italian and Hungarian passports. Shafi was arrested as part of the investigation into more than 100 cases of marriages or intended marriages involving women from Latvia, Lithuania and Poland who were paid to marry men from Asia in order to secure them residency in Ireland and other EU countries. It’s understood that the scam involves a bogus company set up in Ireland by these men who advertise well-paying jobs for former Eastern bloc women. They are supplied with false documents in order to secure residency rights for their Asian ‘husbands.’ Shafi was one of more than 20 cricket players from Pakistan who arrived in Ireland on a seven-day visa for a supposed cricket match in July 2008, but that the entire ‘team’ disappeared after entering the country. Statistics show that last year 384 applications for residency in Ireland were submitted by Pakistani men. Of them, 110 were based on marriages to Latvian women, followed by 50 marriages to Polish women and 47 marriages to women from Estonia. In 2009 applications for residency in Ireland by non-EU nationals, by virtue of being married to a non-Irish EU citizen, rose to 2,116, despite the fact that the overall number of foreign residents had fallen.

In Riga on the evening of Jan. 24, a bus passenger stabbed a ticket inspector after an argument over the passenger’s electronic ticket, says State Police spokeswoman Sigita Pildava, reports LETA. Two ticket inspectors, a man and a woman, boarded bus No. 24 heading for Mangalsala at about 9 p.m. They noticed that a man was hastily trying to validate his e-ticket which led to an argument between the passenger and the male ticket inspector. The inspector later told the police that the aggressive passenger hit him in the face. The inspectors and the passenger then got off the bus at the same bus stop. The inspector tried to call the police, but the passenger kicked the phone out of his hands. When the inspector stooped to pick the phone from the ground, the passenger stabbed him in the chest. The passenger immediately fled the scene, whereas the inspector was taken to the hospital. Eyewitnesses are urged to call the police to help the investigation.

The matter of the suspended State Revenue Service Director General Dzintars Jakans is being unnecessarily politicized, says Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis (New Era), reports LETA. He says he hopes that the coalition partners will act responsibly. The Cabinet of Ministers on Jan. 26 rejected Finance Minister Einars Repse’s (New Era) proposal to transfer Jakans to the office of director at the Ministry’s Tax and Customs Administrative Policy Department. Justice Minister Mareks Seglins (People’s Party) suggested that the matter be put to a vote, which resulted in all People’s Party ministers voting against Repse’s proposal. Ministers from the Union of Greens and Farmers and For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK’s Kaspars Gerhards abstained, therefore, the motion from New Era was voted down. A final decision has been put off until next week.