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Last Updated: Monday, 21 May 2007, 08:21 GMT 09:21 UK
Bogus entry takes racers for ride
The men had posed as entrants for a cycle race
An Irish cycling organisation has been taken for a ride by a group of bogus Iranian racers.

Four men who claimed to be part of an Iranian team taking part in the FBD Insurance Ras race touched down in Dublin, then promptly vanished.

Race Organiser Dermot Dignam said he thought he had been negotiating an entry with a legitimate representative of the Iranian national cycling federation.

Visas were granted for five riders and four officials, but four of the group arrived a week early.

Immigration at Dublin airport contacted the race organisers, who arranged for emergency accommodation. However, the men never arrived at their destination.

"Everything appeared to be above board," Mr Dignam told the BBC's Good Morning Ulster programme.

"It turns out that it was an attempt by persons unknown to get a group of Iranians into the country."

Mr Dignam believed he had been dealing with Ali Zangi Abadi, vice-president of the Cycling Federation of the Islamic Republic of Iran and a former successful racer in Asia during the 1980s.

It now seems that the person concerned was posing as the former international rider.

Teams from the US, Germany, Estonia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Britain, Australia and the Netherlands are taking part in the almost 1,200km eight-day race around Ireland.

Mr Dignam said there was no reason to believe there was a sinister motive for the men's arrival, and that it was simply a ploy for the men to gain entry to Ireland and possibly make their way to another European country.

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