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The Great British Con Man

By Expert Author: Kateryna Melnychuk

To call Paul Casini the Great British con man is a compliment that far exceeds his ability however for the past 10 years or so he has wreaked havoc amongst both the national and International communities in Ukraine, Poland, Great Britain and the United States of America

Originally from Stoke on Trent in Staffordshire in the UK, and now of no fixed abode or verifiable income in Ukraine, Casini has been ‘hiding’ in Kyiv, Kharkov and Dnipropetrovsk for the past 15 months on an out of day 90 day visa, illegally earning a living through a series of clever and sometimes highly damaging confidence tricks.

Casini came to Ukraine some 10 years ago claiming to be in search for a Ukrainian bride. He set himself up as a ‘Mr Fix-It’ preying on vulnerable Ukrainians and members of the expatriate community who either did not understand the law or sought to find ways round it. A typical con was to meet his victims in local bars and internet café’s, listening in to their discussions and then offering to solve problems inventing his expertise to suit the victim.

He would seek to impress his victims claiming to have served in an intelligence capacity in the British army in Northern Ireland, or to be a current operative for Secret Services of the UK, Israel, and Italy or to be the beneficial owner of significant real estate assets in his ancestral region in Italy or the UK all of which were bogus

Sometimes posing as a UK lawyer he conned numerous Ukrainian families for amounts up to $4,000 on promises of securing visa’s and work permits to the UK and the USA for their teenage daughters holding onto passports for months and stringing victims along until they refused to pay any more money. In some cases he simply stole the passport.

Jonathan Barrow a UK national needed a visa extension for his South African girlfriend, Casini again posing as a UK lawyer took the couple for hundreds of pound only returning their passports some six months later and without the visa.

Expats were his favourite target offering to help fellow love-struck compatriots to get visa’s for their new found beloveds or helping others to get work permits or visas and charging them substantial sums for his bogus services. In one particular case he supplied a victim with a residency visa which was a straight and very amateur copy of somebody else’s visa but with a badly altered number.

His most audacious con to date was to ‘help’ an American lady, one Janette Runyon in the case of a surrogate child born to a Ukrainian mother where he sought to secure the child a US passport, using what the US authorities claimed was fake information. In February 2008, according to the North Carolina District Court records, he posed as a Ukrainian lawyer working for a well known Kyiv law firm, was granted the right to represent the lady in court where he committed perjury in a case against the US government. Reading from the court transcript he was directly asked by the judge, The Honourable Carl Horn 111, if he was a practicing lawyer to whom he responded that he was. When asked why the Ukrainian lawyer of record had not appeared Casini responded that the lawyer of record was his father despite the actual partner in the firm being almost half his age. During the case Casini also confirmed in response to a second direct question from the judge that he was a disbarred UK lawyer, of which the Law Society in the United Kingdom has is no record. He is now wanted for questioning by the US authorities..

In the UK he is alleged to have been involved in housing and pensions frauds involving vulnerable adults totalling over £250,000 where as part of the con he again impersonated a Ukrainian lawyer working for a well known Ukrainian law firm in communication with British Banks and financial institutions. His own family have disowned him over an alleged substantial mortgage he took on their late mother’s home from a British Building Society which has yet to be repaid.

Casini also preyed on the Jewish Community by implying that he is a member of the faith, even wearing a skull cap to gain access to Synagogues in Kyiv and Kharkiv, using the Rabbi as a well meaning conduit to access potential victims. Records in the UK indicate that he was bought up in the Catholic faith and as a child attended two Catholic schools in North London. There is no UK record of any conversion to Judaism. Casini often claims different faiths to suit his victim and has used religious persecution as a defence.

This summer Casini even posed as a teacher of English whilst trying to secure a position at a teenage girls summer camp in the Carpathian mountains and has assisted other bogus middle aged male ‘English teachers’ to secure work teaching impressionable young ladies in language schools and clubs, some of whom have now been refused re-entry to Ukraine.

When asked to comment on the accusations Casini said “I am being persecuted, my Grandmother was Jewish”. On the specific accusations he said “ No comment”

In addition to his financial scams Casini has freely boasted to illegally crossing the Ukrainian / Polish border at night to facilitate smuggling and to frequently smuggling of contraband to the UK selling it to contacts in London’s East End. This scam came to an end a year ago when he had his BMW motor car full of illegal cigarettes impounded by the HM Customs and Excise at Dover.

In order to perpetrate his activity Casini, like many others, has endeavoured to make a fool of the Ukrainian Border Guard using loop holes in the systems to ensure that he could stay in Ukraine for indefinite periods. Here his scam was to deliberately overstay his 90 day visa free limit by a few days. On departure he would admit to overstaying and pay the 900 Hryvna (£70.00) fine knowing that this would revert his time clock back to zero. A few days later he would return to Ukraine by a different route to avoid detection. So skilled was he in bluffing his way through that the Border Guard simply waved him on to avoid a confrontation. Since then however we understand that the Ukrainian Border Guard have improved the computer systems hence Casini has been virtually trapped in Ukraine for over a year dodging the authorities by moving around the country.

The question is just how long it will be before the Ukrainian Authorities realise that they too have been conned by Mr Casini and bring this public nuisance to justice?

© Foley & Nunn Kyiv, Ukraine November 2013

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