The Immigration and Borders Service (SEF) operation «Livro Mágico» [“Magic Book”] detained three persons today, June 2nd, and carried out 15 search warrants in homes, establishments and vehicles.
The police operation «Livro Mágico» [“Magic Book”] was triggered following an investigation carried out by SEF under the direction of the Lisbon’s Department for Criminal Investigation and Prosecution. The operation focused on the acts of a criminal organisation that, in exchange for large amounts of money, was dedicated to the acquisition of Portuguese citizenship to foreign citizens allegedly born in the former Portuguese territories in India, by means of using false documents, such as birth certificates issued fraudulently.
This fraud enabled the granting of Portuguese citizenship to hundreds of Indian citizens, with the consequent issuing of passports, identity cards [cartão do cidadão], driving licenses and other Portuguese documents to citizens who are not nationals of former Portuguese territories in India.
As a result of the execution of the warrants, an extensive amount of documentation was seized related to the fraudulent procedure, as well as computer equipment, mobile phones, mail, a vehicle, credit cards and c. 20 thousand euros, and also a significant amount of gold and jewellery. Among the seized documents there is the copious evidence that many citizens who acquired Portuguese citizenship have identities different from those presented fraudulently at the time they applied for Portuguese citizenship.
In addition to the three detainees, who will be present at court, other five suspects were also indicted.
The investigation started a year and a half ago, as a result of exchange of information with USA, Canada and UK authorities. These were the main countries of destination of the citizens who fraudulently were acquiring Portuguese citizenship.
In the course of the investigation there was exchange of information with Europol and with USA and Canada through the Immigration Liaison Officers.
The searches were carried out in Lisbon and Vila Franca de Xira regions.
The execution of these warrants had the involvement of 60 SEF’s officers.