A solicitor who pleaded with the disciplinary tribunal not ‘to take away his career’ has been struck off for ‘deceptively’ using vulnerable people’s details to help other clients gain permission to live in the UK.
London solicitor Osman Sadiq was given a six-year jail term in January last year, later reduced to four years, after he admitted 12 counts of ‘using a false instrument’ to make immigration applications.
Sadiq was convicted for taking applications from people applying to remain in the UK under carers’ visas and then using the details of the people they cared for to forge letters to support bogus applications for another set of clients.
According to the judge who sentenced him, Sadiq took money from clients to help them put forward ‘pretty hopeless’ carers’ visas. The purpose of the visas is to enable a direct relative or a legal guardian the right to live in the UK as the primary carer of a British citizen. But in these cases, the clients were not close relatives of the people they cared for.
He would take the details, passport photographs and letters of these vulnerable people, and used this material to support another set of clients’ applications to get leave to remain in the country by pretending they were the carers. None of these clients succeeded in getting through the immigration system.
The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal said: ‘He had deceptively and repeatedly used the personal details of vulnerable clients over a period of three months to try and obtain leave to remain in this country for a different set of clients.’
‘He had forged a number of letters in support of those applications and, knowing those letters to be false, he had submitted them to the immigration authorities. He had taken advantage of a number of vulnerable people grossly breaching their trust.’
Sadiq said he was ‘devastated’ by his actions and pleaded for the tribunal not to take away a career he was ‘greatly passionate about’ and had worked to hard to build.
His legal representatives noted he had shown ‘genuine remorse’ and had not defended the criminal case or attempted to justify his actions.
But the tribunal found that his conduct had been ‘deliberate and calculated’ and ‘went to the heart of the trust and confidence the public put in the profession’.
The tribunal ordered that Sadiq be struck off the roll of solicitors, and that he pay costs of £2,900.