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13th July 2009
Press Release – Portugal and Spain develop joint investigation
under the coordination of EUROJUST

Following a joint investigation between the Immigration and Borders Service of Portugal (SEF) and the Spanish National Police Corps (Cuerpo Nacional de Policia), under the coordination of EUROJUST, a large-scale police operation was inducted –named as “Iberoslava” – aiming for the simultaneous accomplishment of several arrest and search warrants, as well as other diligences.

In Portugal, where SEF’s investigation goes under the direction of DIAP – the Portuguese Department of Investigation and Prosecution – this operation took place in Leiria and Lisbon and had as result the arrest of five suspects, all of them foreign citizens, indicted for criminal association, contributing for illegal immigration, human trafficking, document forgery and money laundering. The eligible judicial authority enforced the following coercion measures: temporary custody in two cases, and periodic presentations to the police authority with the interdiction of exiting national territory to the other three.

During the course of this operation, in national territory also occurred five domiciliary searches and two other in offices, where computers, documents, money and vehicles were apprehended, all with significant probative importance.

In Spain thirteen suspects were arrested and indicted for criminal association, document forgery, illegal immigration abetting, human trafficking, money laundering and crimes against road safety. Weapons, computers, money, documents, among other values were apprehended.

The now dismantled criminal group acted in an organized way and within a transnational range, acting among Portugal and Spain with the purpose of obtaining Portuguese driving licences based on forged documents. These driving licenses were intended to be used by citizens from Eastern European countries which are in Spanish territory or moving there, allowing them to travel freely within the European Union area.

Furthermore, the group tried to obtain Portuguese residence permits, based on the family reunification regulation provided in the Law, nevertheless supported with forged or fraudulent data between Eastern Europe citizens’ with legal situation in Portugal and Eastern Europe citizens’ with illegal situation in Spain, therefore allowing their free movement in all the European area.

In reality, this illegal activity allowed foreign citizens, and consequently their families, to enter and travel within these two Countries with documents obtained in fraudulent ways, hence permitting their passage to all the other European Union Countries.