Australian brides paid to 'marry' Indian men

Updated 2017-01-30 15:16:13 Xinhua

An immigration official and his wife have been charged in an Australian court on Monday, with arranging fake weddings between 16 Australian brides and Indian men as part of a "one-stop shop" for visas.

Chetan Mohanial Mashru and Divya Krishne Gowda faced court in Brisbane, and plead not guilty to the charge of arranging marriages for visas.

Crown prosecutor, Greg Lynham told the court Monday, Mashru and Gowda organised a racket where unceremonious unions took place that were "nothing more than a ruse to obtain a spouse visa."

During Monday's court hearing, the court was told the Indian men paid the pair for the ceremonies, and for organising documentation, while the Australian women were recompensed over the course of two years in exchange for agreeing to be married.

Mashru and Gowda wed the couples on first sight, and devised methods of ensuring they looked legitimate, including the creation of joint bank accounts, and establishing phone records between the newlyweds.

Five of the Indian grooms and 15 of the Australian brides are set to testify during the course of the trial.

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