NICOSIA (Reuters) - Law enforcement agencies in Cyprus, Latvia and Portugal have made 15 arrests involving dozens of alleged marriages of convenience on the eastern Mediterranean island, police in Cyprus said on Wednesday.
The operation by EU enforcement agency Europol headed by Cyprus police arrested 13 people in Cyprus on Jan. 29, and two arrests in Portugal and Latvia on the same day.
"Investigations revealed evidence against a number of people alleged to be involved in 133 sham marriages in Cyprus, involving women from Portugal and Latvia, and men from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh," Cyprus police said in a statement.
Authorities said they were investigating conspiracy to commit a crime, aiding and abetting illegal entry, forgery, fraudulent matrimony and forcing victims into fake marriages to get EU residency permits.
The suspects arrested in Cyprus have been detained by court order until Feb. 7, while Cypriot authorities have started an extradition process against the other two suspects in Latvia and Portugal, Cyprus police said.
(Reporting By Michele Kambas; Editing by Bill Berkrot)