This particularly astute network of smugglers exploited the hopes of potential immigrants.
Sixteen men and women, aged 38 to 65, were indicted in Bobigny (Seine-Saint-Denis) for helping with the entry and movement of foreigners, criminal association and money laundering.
They are suspected of having organized the arrival of dozens of Pakistanis to work at reduced cost on construction sites in the Paris region.
"This channel allowed foreigners to stay in France in a clever way that was undetectable by the prefectural services", specifies a source close to the case.
The method consisted of providing them with a job in construction or catering.
The employer made them sign an employment contract with pay slips, which enabled them to obtain or renew their residence permit.
In exchange, the employees had to reimburse, every month, the amount of social charges, or amounts of 400 to 900 euros.
But also the price of compulsory training provided by the French immigration and integration office which was also deducted from their salaries.
The salaries of illegal immigrants were deposited in the smugglers' bank accounts
It was in January 2018 that this case began. Investigators from the sub-directorate for the fight against irregular immigration had gathered anonymous information on a team of illegal traffickers in Drancy. The first suspects identified are three Pakistanis, aged 33 to 45, who reside on Republic Avenue. These three men are placed under surveillance and the police discover that they have cashed hundreds of checks and transfers from several building companies that appear to be salaries. These fees were deposited into the bank accounts of members of this network. The smugglers had set up a clever system which made it possible to earn and launder hundreds of thousands of euros.
Workers' wages were immediately disbursed in cash. Investigators estimate that the amount of these checks and transfers amounts to at least 524,000 euros since 2015. Officials have identified two accomplice companies located in Deuil-la-Barre (Val-d'Oise) and Saint-Denis (Seine-Saint-Denis) who made statements prior to hiring in favor of people who do not appear on any police file or who are the subject of orders to leave the territory. Two other companies, located in Chevilly-Larue (Val-de-Marne) and Eaubonne (Val-d'Oise) put illegal immigrants in touch with employers who needed cheap labor.
Analysis of the bank accounts of two of these men reveals that they bought numerous bus and train tickets from Italy to France because a good part of the candidates for immigration passed through the boot of Europe. .
Among the many "victims", twenty witnesses who used the services of this network of smugglers were heard and some confide having paid sums of 3000 to 10,000 euros to come and live in France.
The police note that one of his men sent 123,000 euros of money orders to various correspondents in Pakistan.
The head of the network benefited from the help of a banker and an accountant
After identifying their phone numbers, the two men were placed under wiretapping. The police understood that the network was structured around one head: that of Arif M., 43 years old. This man who lives in a home in Aulnay-sous-Bois would be at the head of half a dozen accomplices settled in Drancy and Aulnay. According to the police, Arif and his accomplices were in charge of transporting the people in hiding, lodging them in the hostel, opening bank accounts and carrying out money transfers to Pakistan.
They also received many calls from members of the diaspora in need of advice on their regularization files in the prefecture.
To carry out his business, the 40-year-old benefited from the help of a banking advisor at the LCL in Aulnay-sous-Bois.
"The banker was not very careful about the origin of the checks and in exchange she received gifts of clothes and bottles of champagne", adds our source.
He also had an accountant in his relations whom he saw only at night to ensure the regularity of the hiring files of illegals.
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In September 2020, the police launched a wide net throughout the Paris region before questioning the members of the network. During police custody and before the judge, Arif refused to don the costume of network leader. “He admits having transferred and cashed large sums of money in order to help his undocumented compatriots who do not have a bank account. But he disbursed them and redistributed them to their beneficiary, ”says his counsel Me Said Harir, citing the poor health of his client who has remained behind bars for nearly seven months.
The forty-year-old's bank accounts show numerous deposits of up to 518,000 euros between 2015 and 2019. But his lawyer recalls that “his client only had 4,500 euros in his bank accounts at the time of his arrest and that he was carrying out an investigation. austere life living in a social residence ”. He adds that the thesis which makes him "a principal, is far-fetched". The others indicted have all denied or minimized their involvement in this system.