England

Gangmaster suspects Ivars Mezals and Juris Valujevs cleared of fraud

Ivars Mezals
Image caption Ivars Mezals is accused of acting as an unlicensed gangmaster

Two men accused of exploiting migrant workers have been cleared of fraud after a judge instructed the jury to find them not guilty.

Ivars Mezals, 28, and Juris Valujevs, 36, still face charges of being unlicensed gangmasters in Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire.

The Latvian pair are also accused of conspiracy to help breach UK immigration law.

They denied all charges at Blackfriars Crown Court.

Judge David Richardson instructed the jury to find the two men not guilty on the fraud charges.

"The decision is to do with the law of fraud, not the facts," he said.

Mr Valujevs' wife, Oksana Valujeva, 33, and their friend Lauma Vankova, 26, have pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to do an act to facilitate the commission of a breach of UK immigration law by a non EU person through arranging marriages.

Mr Mezals, from Conference Way in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, Mr Valujevs and Mrs Valujeva, from Cresswell Street in King's Lynn, Norfolk, and Ms Vankova, from Turbis Road in King's Lynn, were arrested in raids led by Cambridgeshire Police.

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