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British Official: Country Issued 10,000 Fraudulent Passports Last Year


A top British Home Office official says an estimated 10,000 British passports were issued last year to fraudulent applicants.

In a written statement to parliament Tuesday, Home Office official Joan Ryan said the level of attempted fraud appears to be rising, as applicants get more sophisticated.

Authorities say new procedures, including requiring face-to-face interviews, are set to take effect in May. They say those procedures would have helped identify two men convicted of terror-related offenses who managed to secure false passports in the past three years.

One of them is now serving an 18-year prison sentence for a bombing in Casablanca. Authorities say the other, convicted terrorist Dhiren Barot, held at least two bogus passports before his arrest three years ago. He is now serving a 40-year sentence for conspiracy to commit murder.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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