Pizza delivery driver accused of trafficking women into Northern Ireland
A pizza delivery driver is to stand trial accused of trafficking women into Northern Ireland, a judge has ordered.
Marian Ilie, 34, faces charges linked to his alleged role in establishing online escort agency services.
Ilie, a Romanian national of Donegall Avenue in Belfast, is charged with three counts of human trafficking and a further count of acquiring criminal property.
The alleged offences involve arranging or facilitating the travel of two different women on dates between November 2017 and February 2018 for their exploitation.
He is further accused of unlawfully acquiring £18,444 in cash.
Ilie was arrested in June 2018 as part of an investigation into a suspected crime gang with links to Scotland and Sweden.
He appeared before Belfast Magistrates' Court on Friday for a preliminary enquiry into the allegations against him.
During the brief hearing Ilie declined to give evidence or call witnesses.
Defence solicitor Pearse MacDermott did not contest submissions that his client has a case to answer.
On that basis District Judge Fiona Bagnall granted a prosecution application to have Ilie returned for Crown Court trial.
She released him on continuing bail, with conditions including curfew hours aimed at allowing him to continue his delivery job with a well-known pizza firm.
A previous court was told Ilie denies any wrongdoing over his suspected role in collecting a woman from Dublin airport.
He described himself as the "IT guy" who agreed to set up a website for the alleged victim after being asked by her husband, lawyers said.
But his legal team insisted there was nothing illegal about escort services involving no payment for sex.
Ilie was also said to provide online and computer help to Romanian nationals with less command of the English language.
Belfast Telegraph Digital