THE leader of a Georgian people smuggling gang who gloated over the cash he made by taking advantage of lax Irish border controls has been jailed for nearly six years.
Ilia Diasimidze, 35, posed for pictures with the wads of notes as he and his gang arranged for dozens on migrants to claim asylum in Ireland.
They then used documents he sourced from Russian forgery factories to arrive in Britain, often via the Dublin to Hollyhead ferry.
Diasimidze also smuggled several members of his own family into the country using the same route.
Border officials know of at least 19 people they smuggled into Britain but there are likely to be many more living in the UK, courtesy of Diasimidze and his gang.
Gang member George Kupatadze, 44, was stopped at Hollyhead as he drove four female Georgians into the country on 22 June 2017.
‘ABUSE OF THE COMMON TRAVEL AREA’
Diasimidze, along with Gurami Shariashvili, 27, Levani Shariashvili, 30, Mikhail Mamulashvili, 35 and Ilia Diasimidze, 35, were all convicted of various roles in the plot.
Simon Mills, prosecuting, told jurors: “Some of the activity related to family members or partners of the defendants.
“The events you will be considering result from commercial transactions and involve an abuse of the Common Travel Area between the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom.
“People claimed asylum in Ireland, then disappeared from that system and travelled into the United Kingdom, sometimes by getting a ferry from Dublin to Holyhead and sometimes by flying from Belfast to Manchester carrying false identity documents.
“This happened after making the easy crossing from the Republic of Ireland to Northern Ireland.”
Mr Mills said in June 2017, a man called Giorgi Berikashvili was caught trying to board a flight from Belfast to Manchester using a fake Portuguese passport after he travelled to Northern Ireland from the Republic.
Amiran Sharishvili, brother of Levani, and partner Lili Mdzelura were later found living at Levani’s home in East Ham.
SMUGGLING AT ‘UNPRECEDENTED SCALE’
Diasimidze was earlier jailed for five years and eight months at Isleworth Crown Court after Judge Nicholas Wood said people smuggling cases were now at “an unprecedented scale.”
Jailing Gurami Shariashvili for three years Judge Nicholas Wood said: “The motivation behind this was really economic.
“I do not think you got much if anything out of it, because I do not think you were doing it for these reasons, particularly when one sees, in the press and the courts, the amount people pay nowadays to get into this country is much higher.”
Members of his family wept in the public gallery as he was led away to the cells.
Gurami Shariashvili, of Feltham, Middlesex, pleaded not guilty but was convicted of conspiracy to facilitate breach of immigration law.
Kupatadze, of Windmill Street, Gravesend, Kent, admitted conspiracy to facilitate a breach of immigration law and three counts of facilitating immigration law.
He was jailed for three years and five months.
Mamulashvil aka Mikheili Tchotashvili, of Market Street, East Ham, was cleared of conspiracy to facilitate unlawful migration, but admitted two counts of possessing an identity document with improper intention.
He was earlier jailed for three years.
CRIME GANG ‘DISMANTLED’
Diasamidze, of Lewisham High Street, southeast London, denied but was convicted of assisting unlawful immigration, two counts of possession of articles for use in fraud and six counts possession of an identity document with improper intention. He was earlier jailed for five years and eight months.
Levani Shariashvili, of Hollington Road, East Ham, was cleared of conspiracy to facilitate unlawful migration and two counts of facilitating the commission of a breach of immigration law but was convicted of possessing a driving license with improper intention.
He was jailed for six months.
Deputy Director Dave Magrath, from Immigration Enforcement CFI said: “We are pleased that this organised crime gang, who were involved in a systematic attempt to help individuals evade the UK’s immigration controls, has been dismantled.
“We work closely with law enforcement partners – particularly Border Force, PSNI in Northern Ireland and the GNIB in the Republic of Ireland – to tackle abuse of the Common Travel Area.”
Detective Chief Superintendent David Dowling of the Garda National Immigration Bureau said: “This is an example of the continued cooperation between the relevant agencies in our efforts to target all types of criminal activity, including illegal immigration in both jurisdictions.
“GNIB has collaborated and shared intelligence throughout this investigation and will continue to work closely with all our law enforcement partners.”
Two others, Givi Shariashvili, 45, of Feltham, west London, and Leri Mgaloblishvili, 45, of Ladbroke Crescent, west London, were earlier cleared of involvement in the plot.
Fred mesmerized: Again we see the apathy in this country. A bunch of Penguins would guard our borders better than the clowns who are presently monitoring people coming to our country with fake documentation and the dark figures behind the scams who make hundreds of thousands and laugh at our Government and even go onto say how Lax the security of the Island of Ireland (pre Brexit No Deal) is. These men above are an example and they are just the tip of the ice berg but the Gardai will jump on the PR wagon again and reassure us that they are working well with their colleagues in England and beyond. If you believe this, you will also believe that Ireland will win the World Cup and that Louis Walsh would love to be married to Dana – All Kinds of Everything.
Let’s get back to basics: A Chinese national and a good source for intelligence could tell me over a year ago that one of his friends made over £250,000 in getting illegals into Ireland from China into Ireland via France and London and there were no problems doing so. He said out of the hundreds, only five were sent back – the rest work off the grid and do delivery services on motorpeds. Don’t get me wrong I have no problem with anyone doing a days work but the problem for Ireland Inc. is that there are no taxes being paid. Let’s go one further: 2013 and this is easy checked out £500 million left Ireland https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/nigerians-send-nearly-500m-a-year-home-from-ireland-29278045.html through Western Union and other places and went back to Nigeria. The Government here made sure that this news never saw the light of day. It is only a few months ago, as we all witnessed in North Dublin, an Iranian national came into Ireland and applied for asylum and while waiting for acceptance he became a hit man and gun man in the North Dublin feud. Now he is dead. I can’t understand that the Gardai knew for months if not years that this man was up to his neck in Criminality and yet he, like others, was not deported. Maybe if he had been deported some lives would have been saved. Another example and this came from the GPO (a member of staff). They overheard a call to Nigeria and another country: The message was come to Ireland, the cash cow is not fully milked yet….Fred