AN illegal immigrant who was last year jailed for his part in a sham marriage scam, is back in St Leonards despite a judge recommending he be deported.
Vladymyr Buchak, 34, was one of three men convicted in July last year, after arranging 360 bogus marriages at St Peter’s Church, off Bohemia Road, St Leonards.
In a money-making enterprise, between 2005 and 2009, Buchak recruited eastern European women to marry Africans, who would then use the marriage to apply for permission to stay in the UK.
It was the largest scam of its kind ever prosecuted in the UK, and Buchak was sentenced to four years in prison last September, and afterwards a judge at Lewes Crown Court recommended that he be deported.
When released from prison on July 1, the Ukrainian, who had lived illegally in the UK since 2004, was placed in immigration detention but released on bail by the courts.
He has now returned to St Leonards.
A UK Border Agency spokesperson said: “We opposed the decision to release Vladymyr Buchak on bail from immigration detention.
“However, the court released him on July 14, 2011.
“Our priority is to protect the public and we are clear that foreign criminals should be removed from the UK at the earliest possible opportunity.
“Last year we deported 5,342 foreign national prisoners.”
The reasons behind the decision to release Buchak on bail have not been made public, but MP for Hastings and Rye Amber Rudd, has expressed her outrage.
“I have written to the Secretary of State, Theresa May, asking her to look into this,” she said.
“I take it very, very seriously.
“This is a major crime and he should be deported. I want to get to the bottom of this, I want him to go.”
Buchak had been living under the false identity of Kaedo Maesalu since arriving in the UK, and was also sentenced for using a fake passport.
Two other St Leonards men, the Rev Alex Brown, and Michael Adelasoye, were also sentenced to four years in prison for their part in the scam, which saw up to eight sham weddings take place every day.
The eastern Europeans were paid up to £3,000 to marry the Africans, who were mainly from Nigeria.
Adelasoye, who was a solicitor and pastor at Ark of Hope, Marine Court, used his legal knowledge to facilitate the scam and supplied the African clients, while Brown conducted the marriage ceremonies at St Peter’s Church.