Ipswich: Man jailed after using Vladimir Putin’s name on fake driving licences and ID card in illegal identity racket.

Vladimir Tugusi who was jailed for five years for illegal document racket

Vladimir Tugusi who was jailed for five years for illegal document racket - Credit: Contributed

ONE of the kingpins behind an illegal identity racket which used Russian Premier Vladimir Putin’s name on driving licences and an ID card has been jailed.

Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin - Credit: AP

Vladimir Tugusi used a selection of identities on false passports, driving licences and identity cards.

Tugusi was caught when police were sent to his home in Cullingham Road, Ipswich during a fight with an alleged co-conspirator at around 10.30pm on July 28 last year.

Sentencing Tugusi to five years’ imprisonment Judge David Goodin said a “contretemps” between Tugusi and a partner appeared to be a routine Saturday night call out. However, when officers arrived they found an extensive and elaborate forger’s kit.

This included various passports, identity cards, and driving licences in false names and nationalities.

Tugusi, a Lithuanian national, was convicted of 11 offences after a trial at Ipswich Crown Court.

The 31-year-old was found guilty of seven counts of possessing identity documents, including an Estonian and two Polish passports. There were also four false ID cards from Poland, Cyprus and Lithuania in different names.

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Tugusi was also convicted of three offences of possessing the false identity documents relating to Mr Putin.

In addition he was found guilty of money laundering between January 6, 2012 and July 30, 2012 amounting to a benefit of £34,864.

Sentencing the father-of-one Judge Goodin said: “These offences as with any offences of this nature strike right at the heart of this country’s system of immigration control and of benefits’ entitlement to the detriment – the loss - of legitimate entrants to this country and claimants to whatever benefit they may be entitled.

“One of the customs officers in this case described the profits of your work that he saw as the biggest haul of counterfeit documentation he had ever encountered. I’m confident that it’s not the biggest that’s ever come before the courts, but it was a significant operation. The potential rewards were huge as is shown by the financial detail in this case.

“Your role in it was, in my judgment, a significant role. Yours was undoubtedly a leading role. Some of your work was more convincing - a better job – than other parts of it. None of the forgeries were professional. But I have seen them, as the jury has, and they were pretty good.

“They might not have got you past a passport control point at the border and indeed there’s evidence I’m told, that one or two of your customers were coming unstuck there, but they were certainly good enough once somebody was in this country to get a bank account in a false name, as you did, to borrow money, to gain accommodation and to adopt, in fact for all purposes, a false identity within these borders.”