Ark of Hope founder Michael Adelasoye sentenced to jail

Charity Commission is considering regulatory action against the charity

Michael Adelasoye
Michael Adelasoye

The Charity Commission is considering whether to take regulatory action against Ark of Hope, a Sussex-based charity founded by a pastor who was jailed last week for his part in organising hundreds of sham marriages to bypass immigration law.

Michael Adelasoye was one of three men found guilty at Lewes Crown Court of conspiring to facilitate the commission of breaches of immigration law. He has been sentenced to four years in prison.

Adelasoye is listed as founder and chief executive of the charity on the website of the immigration advice law firm that shares the charity's name and premises. He is also listed on the Ark of Hope website as the senior pastor of Ark of Hope Christian Centre.

A spokesman for the Crown Prosecution Service said 360 sham marriages had been carried out at the Church of St Peter & St Paul in St Leonards, East Sussex, over a period of four years. Many of the marriages were between African men and eastern European women.

In a statement, a Charity Commission spokeswoman said: "We are aware of the conviction and sentencing of Michael Adelasoye and his connection to the charity Ark of Hope. We have worked with the police and other agencies during the course of the investigation and are now considering what regulatory role the commission might have."

Ken Goss, crown advocate at the South East CPS, said: "As far as we know, this was the largest sham marriages scam that we have prosecuted. Adelasoye should have told people he advised to contact the authorities, but he didn't. Everyone was aware of each of their roles and that what they were doing was unlawful."

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