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Sham marriages solicitor to face SDT for mortgage fraud

7 September 2010

Michael Adelasoye, the solicitor jailed for four years yesterday for his part in a sham marriages scam in Sussex, was already due to face the SDT for mortgage fraud, Solicitors Journal has learned.

He was convicted of conspiring to breach immigration laws, working with Church of England vicar Alex Brown who carried out 360 fake ceremonies between illegal immigrants and EU citizens at his church in St Leonards-on-Sea between July 2005 and July 2009.

It was reported that Adelasoye’s clients, mainly failed male asylum seekers from Africa, paid up to £15,000 for a fake wedding, often with an East European, to obtain permanent residency in the UK.

The solicitor, pastor of the Ark of Hope evangelical church in Hastings, denied knowing the marriages were false and told the court he had “a lot of respect for the sanctity of marriage”.

Adelasoye qualified as a solicitor in January 2006, according to Law Society records. In March 2009 he was referred to the SDT for alleged mortgage fraud.

A statement published by the SRA said it was alleged that Adelasoye had on two occasions submitted a false mortgage reference form to lenders.

“The forms were false in that they gave enhanced salary details for himself when in each case his employer had neither completed nor submitted the form.”

Conditions were placed on Adelasoye’s PC in January 2010, but he remains on the roll of solicitors until the SDT hearing.

A spokesman for the SRA said: “Mutalib Adelasoye both preyed on vulnerable migrant workers and contributed to a scam designed to mislead the Home Office.

“He had already been referred to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal because he allegedly submitted a false mortgage application. The fact of his conviction will be added to the allegations to be placed before the tribunal.

“In the mean time, his imprisonment means he is unable to practise as a solicitor.”

Before he was jailed, Adelasoye, 50, was principal of a firm of solicitors called Ark of Hope Consulting in Hastings.

The firm specialises in immigration, and, according to its website, is “established and dynamic”, adopting a “practical and hands-on approach”.

Ark of Hope Consulting helps fund the Ark of Hope Christian Centre, which, according to its website, provides free advice, especially to people seeking asylum and immigration. Adelasoye is the charity’s founder and chief executive.

It was in his role as pastor of the church with the same name that he is reported to have met many of the people who were later married by the Rev. Brown.

The centre’s website puts forward an uncompromising approach to the issue of sin: “All it takes is one sin, one minor transgression, to come short of the glory of God. Even the best of us have missed the mark, and there’s nothing we can do about it. Finally, and again not so good news, the wages of sin is death.”

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