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'THE MEN MAKING MONEY FROM REFUGEES' MISERY'

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Dozens of 'asylum barons' are making fortunes from Britain's asylum problems, according to an Observer investigatio...
Dozens of 'asylum barons' are making fortunes from Britain's asylum problems, according to an Observer investigation (p6).

The transport, dispersal, housing and detention of people has turned into a giant get-rich scheme subsidised by the taxpayer, claims the newspaper.

In a news-feature it alleges that one of Europe's richest men, French catering billionaire Pierre Bellon, one of whose companies runs the voucher system - printing and distributing the vouchers - is one of many gaining from the asylum situation. This year the company will receive£1.5m to print and distribute around£50m of vouchers.

In a detention centre to be opened near Heathrow on 20 September, a subsiduary of the Sodexho company - UK Detention Services - is planning what refugee groups have described as 'a slave labour scheme'.

Another foreign billionaire involved in the British asylum market is American George Wackenhut, whose Wackenhut Corporation runs private prisons across the world. Last year Wackenhut UK won the transport contract for the government's asylum dispersal scheme. Its coaches now carry refugees around the country.

But ministers are concerned about the estimated dozen firms which won multi-million pound contracts to house refugees.

One of the smaller ones, Adelphi Hotels, based in Hove, East Sussex, increased its profits from£180,000 to£1.4m after winning a contract in April last year.

Companies House has confirmed it is taking action against two companies - Clearsprings and Landmark Liverpool - which have so far failed to produce annual accounts. Clearsprings confirmed it had a£2m turnover last year, mostly home office money. Landmark owns two crumbling tower blocks in Liverpool, where residents have complained of harassment by the firm and staged a hunger strike.

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