By Ashley Young-
An immigration solicitor has been struck off and fined £25,000 after being secretly recorded by ITv representatives discussing sham marriages with a purported client, The Eye Of Media.Com has heard.
The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal heard that a covert recording made by ITV showed Syed Muzaher Naqvi advising a reporter posing as a client how to cheat the system. Naqvi told the reporter acting as a client that would have a better chance of securing a visa if he applied as a spouse or partner. Naqvi was filmed telling the man not to tell him if the relationship was genuine.
Naqvi, who qualified as a solicitor in Pakistan, was a sole practitioner at Southall firm Naqvi & Co Solicitors when he fell for the trap following a tip off to the broadcaster.He is said to be distraught after his career was sent tumbling down.
The secretive recording authorised by ITV authorised a covert recording exposed his indifference to the genuine or faker applications. He told the reporter that he needed to show evidence of a relationship and gave examples of previous applications. He said: ‘Whether it is genuine or not, I don’t know that. Whoever comes to me is a genuine man giving me authority to certify the papers to proceed the application.’
Naqvi disputed the allegations against him, telling the tribunal there was no evidence of involvement in sham marriages, and that an arranged marriage, which he believed the client to be discussing, was not unlawful. His lawyer told the tribunal the purported client had been ‘fishing and caught no fish’ and the meeting was a ‘classic case of two people talking at cross purposes’.
The tribunal rejected his defence of entrapment and expressed satisfaction that the solicitor was fully aware what the client was really asking him about. His advice that such an arrangement might be ‘very shaky’ and risky, gave him away as a fraud. Naqvi was found to be ‘deliberately closing his eyes’ to the obvious to avoid responsibility and to be able to deny it if the sham was exposed.
Sources told this publication that Navqi was a bright law student with ”high hopes” in the legal profession, one that has now been dashed by what the tribunal described as an act of dishonesty. He now has to pick up the pieces of his dishonest act.