Police in Agrigento, southern Italy, have arrested four people. They are charged with providing fake documents to migrants, which allowed them to obtain stay permits.
The four suspects were arrested following an investigation carried out by finance police in the Sicilian city of Agrigento, investigators said on Monday (January 17).
The four have been charged with criminal association to favor illegal immigration.
Four other people are reportedly still under investigation.
Who are the four suspects?
The four suspects arrested are a local accountant, a business owner, and two Senegalese citizens, according to police. Investigators allege that the accountant — who reportedly runs a fiscal consultancy firm and acts as a consultant for a number of unions in Agrigento — headed the operation. The business owner was reportedly placed under house arrest.
Investigators allege that the accountant filed tax returns and financial statements with false data for the foreigners applying for a stay permit. He allegedly instructed them on how to compile invoices and receipts to make them coincide with data regarding costs and revenues included in their fake financial statements.
The two Senegalese suspects allegedly acted as intermediaries with members of their community in Agrigento, according to investigators. One of them allegedly also offered fake rental contracts.
The business owner is accused of issuing false invoices at the accountant's request.
Details on the investigation
Police searched several homes and consultancy offices and seized documents considered important for the probe, investigators said. The arrest warrants were issued by a preliminary investigations judge (GIP) in Palermo, at the request of prosecutors in the Sicilian city.
The investigation into the alleged document forgery group was carried out by financial police in Agrigento together with the immigration office at the city's police headquarters. They reportedly used wiretapping and information obtained through the tax police's data bank, according to investigators.