Sentencing has taken place at Reading Crown Court (16 May) following the convictions of Anthony Beard, 61, Christopher Zietek, 67 and Alan Thompson, 72.
Zietek was sentenced to eight years imprisonment, Beard to six years and Thompson to three years.
Genevieve Reed led by Tom Nicholson (2HB) secured the convictions of the trio who were involved in supplying fraudulently-obtained genuine passports (FOGs) to murderers, drug traffickers and those at the very highest echelons of organised crime. The FOGs enabled the criminals to evade justice in the UK by enabling them to cross international borders with false identities.
Criminal clients paid between £5,000 and £15,000 for the passports which were issued authentically but applied for through HM Passport Office using false information and fake counter-signatories.
The men were arrested during coordinated NCA raids in October 2021.
They were charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, conspiracy to make false instruments (passports and ID documents) and money laundering.
On the first day of the trial on 3 Jan 2023 Beard changed his plea to guilty and Zietek and Thompson were found guilty on 17 March.
The NCA’s investigation codenamed Operation Strey started in 2017 and ran in partnership with the Dutch National Police, Police Scotland and HM Passport Office. It has been one of their most significant in recent years taking 5 years to come to its conclusion. As a result, many criminal fugitives have been caught all over the world including murderers and drug traffickers who evaded justice in the UK.
Genevieve Reed appears in the Crown Court and Court of Appeal, as a led and leading junior and junior alone, on a range of serious and complex Crime matters. She has a wealth of experience defending and prosecuting cases involving Serious & Organised Crime: [Genevieve Reed Profile]. She was instructed in this trial by CPS Serious Economic, Organised Crime and International Directorate and the NCA.
The trial took place over 10 weeks at Reading Crown Court.