Brixton takeaway worker wanted in France amid allegations he smuggled Sri Lankans across Europe
EXCLUSIVE: A BRIXTON chicken shop worker has been named as a leading people smuggler accused of getting large numbers of Sri Lankans into the country by illegally crossing the Channel. Sathasivam Sivagankan, 57, is facing extradition to France amid allegations he "played a leading role in an organised crime group which facilitated the illegal immigration of Sri Lankan nationals to the UK, France and Switzerland from Romania, Italy, Germany, Hungary, Ukraine, Slovenia and Austria." Westminster Magistrates' Court heard he denies any involvement. He is wanted as he has yet to be interviewed in France over the allegations. The court heard that one attempt to cross the Channel he allegedly arranged on June 10 last year was thwarted and that he had been implicated by telephone surveillance and 14 others indicted in France. He is facing up to ten years in jail if convicted. The court heard he was allegedly arranging crossing while working in a south London fried chicken takeaway and a leading member of the local Tamil community. It also heard he has indefinite leave to remain in the UK after claiming asylum after joining his wife and two children here in 2003 after fleeing conflict in Sri Lanka, but despite the risks there had returned to the country in 2004 to 2005. Sivagankan argued he is in poor health and his wife was reliant upon him, but District Judge Daniel Sternberg said it would not be disproportionate to extradite him, with a date to be set.