UBKA director Anjali Patel passed sensitive data to fake immigration lawyer boyfriend Abdul Farooq, court hears
A UK Border Agency director passed confidential data to her bogus lawyer boyfriend, who used it to fleece immigration applicants out of thousands of pounds, a jury has heard.
Anjali Patel, of Outram Road, Addiscombe, is alleged to have illegally accessed sensitive information about vulnerable immigrants while an executive director for the agency and supplied it to Abdul Farooq.
Croydon Crown Court heard yesterday that Mr Farooq, aged 27, of Barrow Road, Waddon, posed as an immigration solicitor to fraudulently charge applicants fighting to stay in the UK up to £13,000 for advice.
Miss Patel, 30, allegedly also advised an illegal immigrant friend of Mr Farooq to supply fake information to UKBA to scupper its attempt to deport him, while the couple are also accused of laundering more than £70,000 of criminal cash.
Prosecutor Karen Robinson said Miss Patel's job, in the agency's case resolution and criminal casework directorate, gave her "unlimited access" to all applicants' personal details, including names, dates of birth and passport numbers.
Miss Robinson said: "There is no doubt Miss Patel was aware of the fact she was not permitted to access or disclose personal and sensitive information without a business need, and certainly not to further her own private interest or those of her boyfriend."
Miss Patel, who took voluntary redundancy in August 2011, is alleged to have deliberately abused her position of trust by passing data to Mr Farooq between 2010 and 2012.
Mr Farooq, a law student drop-out at Brunel University, is said to have held meetings with two immigration applicants while posing as a solicitor called Zen.
In 2010, Bangladeshi national Mamunar Rahman, is said to have paid £12,900 in 12 payments to Mr Farooq, who allegedly promised to obtain him a five-year work permit but never did.
Colombian asylum seeker Maria Garcia-Zuniga claims that later same year, during a meeting at Hilton hotel in Purley Way, she agreed paid Mr Farooq £2,000 in return for help applying for a work permit.
But she reported him to the police after he failed to do so, leading to her being be sacked from her job.
In October 2011, after leaving her job at UKBA, Miss Patel is alleged to have texted a former colleague for information about Arman Ali, a Pakistani friend of Mr Farooq facing deportation, before advising him to supply false information to obstruct his removal from the country.
The jury read texts sent between Mr Ali, Mr Farooq and Miss Patel while the former was in immigration detention in Dover.
On October 13, Mr Ali wrote: "Bro plz man speak wiv ur wifey see if there is any way out man im gona get mad in dis place man."
The next day, Mr Farooq sent Mr Ali's Home Office reference to Miss Patel, who allegedly texted a friend still working in Lunar Home, UKBA's headquarters in Croydon.
She wrote: "She's sitting near a director so just waiting for him to go then she'll check it and get back to me," later adding: "Tell him not to put correct info on bio data so they can't get him an ETD [emergency travel documents]."
Both Patel and Farooq, who the court heard each spent thousands on gambling, also stand accused of receiving unexplained payments of money that Miss Robinson either "comprise criminal property" or "were handled in circumstances which give rise to an irresistible inference that they could only have been derived from crime."
Miss Patel denies two counts of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office, two counts of money laundering and attempting to assist unlawful immigration.
Mr Farooq denies three counts of fraud, three counts of money laundering, two counts of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office and provision of immigration services while unqualified.
The trial continues.
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