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Fake U.S. Embassy In Ghana Shut Down After Issuing Visas For decade

Authorities in Ghana have busted a fake U.S. embassy in the capital Accra, run by a criminal network that had issued visas illegally for one decade, the U.S. State Department said in a statement.

The statement noted that until its shutdown this summer, the sham embassy was housed in a run-down, pink two-storey building with a corrugated iron roof and flew a U.S. flag outside it.

It hung the portrait of U.S. President, Barack Obama, inside it.

The U.S. statement added that “it was not operated by the United States Government, but by figures from both Ghanaian and Turkish organised crime rings and a Ghanaian attorney practicing immigration and criminal law.”

Turkish citizens who spoke English and Dutch posed as consular officers and staffed the operation.

Investigations also uncovered a fake Dutch embassy, the State Department said.

Officials in the Netherlands were not immediately reachable for comment on Sunday.

The crime ring issued fraudulently obtained but legitimate U.S. visas and false identification documents, including birth certificates at a cost of 6,000 dollars each.

During raids that led to a number of arrests, authorities also seized authentic and counterfeit Indian, South African and Schengen Zone visas and 150 passports from 10 different countries, along with a laptop and smart phones.

The U.S. State Department statement, however, did not say how the gang obtained the authentic visas and did not say how many people were believed to have illegally entered the U.S. and other countries using visas issued by the crime ring.

“The criminals running the operation were able to pay off corrupt officials to look the other way, as well as obtain legitimate blank documents to be doctored,” the statement said.

There was no immediate comment from Ghana’s Criminal Investigations Division.

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Fake U.S. embassy in Ghana shut down after issuing visas for decade

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