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Last Updated: Monday, 3 April 2006, 18:11 GMT 19:11 UK
Iran holds visa-scam 'wrestlers'
Greco-Roman wrestling
Iranian wrestlers often perform well in international competitions
Iranian police have arrested seven men who tried to flee to Hungary by passing themselves off as members of the national wrestling team, reports say.

The men were held after a tip-off at Tehran airport, the official Iran newspaper said.

They reportedly told police they had paid a large sum of money for the visas, needed, they said, to travel to a wrestling tournament in Hungary.

Iranians face several restrictions in applying for visas to travel to the EU.

'Inconsistencies'

Wrestling is a popular sport in Iran and has earned the country several medals in international competitions.

Tehran airport was reportedly alerted to the scheme by the Iranian wrestling federation, which had discovered its team had been entered for a competition in Hungary in which it had not planned to participate.

Prosecutor Ataollah Roudgar was quoted by the Iran newspaper as saying the men had brought sports bags and wrestling suits to the airport - but had not ironed out inconsistencies in their stories.

"Among those arrested was a young man who weighed about 60kg (132lb) and claimed to be the 120kg contender," Mr Roudgar is quoted as saying.

The seven men are believed to be part of a group of 15 involved in the scam.

Warrants have been issued for the other eight men, police said.


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