Photo: Basketball immigration scheme
Fifteen Dominicans were arrested for illegally bringing into Spain some of their countrymen by having them pass for professional basketball players, Spanish police said Friday.
The police operation, rolled out in Las Palmas in the Canary Islands and in Barcelona, was launched last year after suspicions were aroused by two Dominicans who had come to Spain with contracts to play for the Guayacanes Basketball Club.
Police determined that the club was not even affiliated in the years when the two individuals arrived on Grand Canary island.
Those two cases pointed to the existence of more Dominican citizens coming to Spain fraudulently, pretending to be basketball players and always supposedly signed up with either of two clubs: Guayacanes or Quisquela.
Those responsible for the plot, all Dominicans, would present players’ contracts together with false sponsorship contracts.
Investigators discovered family ties among 10 of the directors of those two clubs, with a number of suspected marriages of convenience to help regularize residency and work permits in Spain.