An alleged Albanian crime boss has had his British citizenship revoked after being accused of smuggling hundreds of migrants across the English Channel.
The married father-of-four, known only as C9 due to a court order protecting his identity, illegally entered the country from Albania in 1999 and was subsequently given a British passport, The Sunday Times reported.
C9, in his 40s, is believed to have smuggled hundreds of asylum seekers, most of whom were Albanian, into the UK. He was also accused of money laundering, dealing class A and class B drugs, and having access to guns.
His alleged operation initially involved hiding people in the back of lorries but he reportedly started transporting migrants via small boats during the pandemic – when vehicle movements slowed.
C9 was stripped of his British passport in September 2020 by then Home Secretary Priti Patel, who alleged doing so was ‘conducive to the public good’. His children, who were born in Britain and still live in the country, appealed against the order in December.
But the the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) reject the appeal this month, ruling he is a ‘significant criminal facilitator with access to a range of criminal associates’ and who was ‘known to use violence’. C9 remains stranded in Albania.
An alleged Albanian crime boss has had his British citizenship revoked after being accused of smuggling hundreds of migrants across the English Channel in small boats. Migrants are pictured packed tightly onto a dinghy attempting to cross the Channel near Dover in 2020
C9 entered Britain 25 years ago using a false name and, according to the Times, later went on to claim asylum under a second alias, claiming he was fleeing war-torn Kosovo.
The Home Office rejected his asylum application, but C9 is understood to have won his case on appeal.
His wife gave birth to their eldest child, a son, in 2000. The couple then went on to have three daughters now aged 20, 17 and 10. He became a naturalised British citizen seven years later.
Immigration officials only discovered C9’s true identity in 2018 when his mother applied for a visa to visit him.
He was informed that his British passport would be revoked because he had obtained citizenship by ‘concealment of a material fact’, but no action was taken against him after he ‘provided the Home Office with an unspecified response’.
During his hearing, C9 denied being a criminal and claimed he was ‘a simple worker who leaves [home] at 6am and comes back at 7pm that works in construction’.
The alleged crime boss set up his own building firm in 2019 and on tax records submitted to SIAC, reported an average gross annual income of £17,400.
But judges found his ‘modest earnings very hard to square’, alleging he appeared to have access to cash and other valuable assets.
The alleged smuggler is believed to have transported hundreds of asylum seekers, most of whom were Albanian, into the UK. He was also accused of money laundering, dealing class A and class B drugs, and having access to guns. Pictured is a group of people thought to be migrants being brought in to Dover, Kent last month
The hearing heard how he was stopped by police in May 2020 while driving a £200,000 Bentley Continental GT touring sports car at Folkestone and carrying £16,000 with his two passengers.
C9 claimed to own the vehicle, but it was later revealed that the Bentley and a Mercedes were actually registered to one of his associates who did not have a driving licence.
The SIAC judges ruled that ‘on the balance of probabilities’, C9 was ‘personally responsible’ for planning and ensuring the transportation of illegal immigrants.
They also ruled that he was the ‘head of his own discrete crime group’ and ‘generated significant sums of money’ from his activities.
Officials claim his people smuggling operation ‘exploits the vulnerabilities of illegal migrants, risking their lives for his own profit, undermining the UK’s immigration laws and policy, and threatening national security’.