Posts Tagged ‘Sweden’

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Arab gangs to captives: pay up or lose organs

March 17, 2014

This is a follow up to earlier Money Jihad coverage of the organ trade that enriches Bedouins and Hamas.  If anything, the ransom demands appear to be increasing as captives’ relatives in Europe pay off the abductors.

Sweden is specifically named as one of the countries where ransom demands to relatives have been successful.  Perhaps Swedish authorities should look apply more scrutiny to financial transfers made to that region of the world, to ensure that migrants in their own country aren’t inflating ransom demands and keeping the illicit organ market in business.

From IB Times (h/t to @PaulWilko657):

Europol: Arab Gangs Threatening to Kill and Sell Organs of Africa Migrants

  • By Lewis Dean March 5, 2014

Arab gangs are threatening to kill and sell the organs of African migrants if relatives refuse to pay ransoms in time.

European crime agency Europol has said the migrants are being kidnapped by criminals who then demand family and friends living in Europe pay thousands of euros for their release.

The agency has warned EU law enforcement authorities about the kidnapping of ‘irregular migrants’ and the subsequent extortion of their relatives or friends who are residing in Europe.

Ransoms extorted have ranged from €4,400 to €25,700 and have involved multiple negotiation steps where the amount demanded by kidnappers has increased incrementally.

Payments were made to multiple cash handlers used by organised criminal groups in locations inside and outside of Europe.

The agency said individuals orginally from Eritrea in the Horn of Africa, but who now live in Sweden, and at least two other European countries have been subject to extortion as relatives are held hostage and tortured in the Sinai Peninsula, in Eygpt.

The extortion operations were run by organised criminals of Bedouin origin, who exploit irregular migrants who had been kidnapped in Eritrea and Sudan.

In some cases, hostages have been provided with phones to call European contacts and request cash for their release.

In one instance, a victim’s friend living in Sweden was contacted by two Swedish-speaking suspects on local mobile phone numbers demanding €24,000 for a victim being held in the Sinai.

Threatening that non-compliance would result in the victim’s death and sale of their organs, the suspects attempted to arrange face-to-face meetings in Sweden for the handover of ransom payments…

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Terror widow smashed evidence with hammer

November 12, 2013
Terrorist widow wearing hijab

Mona Thawny

Mona Thwany received a wire for £1,000 shortly after her husband self-detonated in Stockholm, Sweden, in 2010.  The money was compensation for his botched martyrdom operation from her husband’s co-conspirator, Nasserdine Menni.  Menni himself transferred nearly £6,000 to the suicide bomber before the attack, and was convicted in 2012.

Thawny claims she knew nothing of her husband’s activities, and that Menni gave her money because that was “a cultural thing.”

Now Menni is appealing his sentence, and his lawyers are pointing a finger back toward Thawny.  Indeed, prosecutors should indict her as well.  The evidence they found on her computer may be inconclusive (shades of Katherine Tsarnaev?), but Thawny’s smashing of four telephones with a hammer doesn’t sound like the behavior of a person cooperating with law enforcement.

From The Local on Oct. 31:

The jailed financier of Swedish-Iraqi suicide bomber Taimour Abdulwahab appeared in Edinburgh High Court on Thursday to appeal his seven-year sentence. His legal team appeared intent on highlighting the widow’s role in the attack…

…[An] audio message left behind by her husband was made with software downloaded to her computer, the defence attorney noted. The message was emailed to the Swedish intelligence service Säpo alongside the national news agency TT.

“She also destroyed three or four telephones with a hammer so their contents couldn’t be reconstructed,” Taylor underlined.

“The bomb in Stockholm was the work of an amateur… which makes it even more significant that the ‘recipe’ for exactly the kind of bomb used in Stockholm, available in a magazine, was found on the widow’s computer,” he said.

Wiring from Christmas lighting found in the widow’s home was used to make the bomb, the lawyer further noted. The widow was taciturn and failed to answer many questions posed to her during the first trial in Glasgow…

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Imam conducts illegal gun-running from Sweden to Syria

November 4, 2013
Arms dealer to the Syrian rebellion

Weapons smuggler Imam Haytham Rahmeh

Imam Haytham Rahmeh, a native of Homs, Syria, residing in Sweden, is trafficking weapons from Libya for end use in Syria, according to Sveriges Radio and a researcher at Cambridge University.  Imam Rahmeh and has previously been described in a Carnegie Endowment article as an ex-Muslim Brotherhood member.

This activity is a probable violation of Swedish law, although it seems fairly similar to smuggling activities being carried out by Western governments and Gulf monarchies.  Libya is often the point of origin of the weapons that are flooding Syria, and Turkey is often the point of entry for the for the smuggled arms.  This story has the same fact pattern.

From The Local:

Swedish imam smuggles weapons to Syria: report

Published: 31 Oct 2013

A Swedish imam has smuggled large quantities of weapons to rebels in Syria, a crime punishable by up to four years in prison.

Sources told Sveriges Radio (SR) that the Syrian-born man was one of the rebels’ key weapons suppliers and that he had been bringing arms into the civil war-torn country for the last 18 months.

SR named the suspected arms dealer as Haytham Rahmeh and claimed he purchased weapons primarily in Libya, but also made purchases in Bosnia & Herzegovina. The arms have then been transported through Turkey and into the hands of rebels in Syria.

Raphaël Lefèvre, a researcher at Cambridge University who has interviewed Rahmeh, told SR that Rahmed has made frequent appearances among the Syrian opposition and has been open about sending weapons to the rebels via an organization known as the Commission for Civilian Protection.

“It’s no secret that this group sends weapons to Syria,” Lefèvre told SR.

For several years, Rahmeh was an imam at the Stockholm mosque located near Medborgarplatsen in the city centre. He also served as the chair of a European organization for imams before shifting his focus toward assisting Syrian rebels.

Thomas Tjäder, a security expert at the Swedish Agency for Non-Proliferation and Export Controls (Inspektionen för strategiska produkter – ISP) explained that smuggling weapons into Syria was a breach of Swedish arms control laws punishable by up to four years in prison.

The law applies to all Swedish citizens and registered residents, regardless of whether the weapons pass through Sweden or not, Tjäder told SR. The EU export embargo to Syria entails policing at national level, he explained, meaning that it was Sweden’s job to probe potential breaches.

Nazir Hakim, head of the Commission for Civilian Protection, confirmed that Rahmeh has fundraised for the group and that some of the money collected went toward the purchase of weapons…

Rahmeh appears to be the latest in a series of imams (Muslim prayer leaders) who have used Western countries as a base to provide material support to militants, including Imam Mohamed Mohamed Mohamud (a San Diego imam who conspired with fellow Somali immigrants to fund al-Shabaab in East Africa), Hafiz Khan (a Florida imam who funded the Taliban), terrorist leader Anwar al-Awlaki, and Orlando imam Marcus Dwayne Robinson, a.k.a. Abu Taubah (who helped coordinate the movement of Al Qaeda fighters through Mauritania).

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Clandestine finance news: recommended reading

May 16, 2013
  • It took Kuwait 12 years after 9/11 to outlaw the financing of terrorism. That was still faster than Sweden…  more>>
  • A Dubai subsidiary illegally transfers software to Syria, and incurs the second biggest fine in the history of export controlmore>>
  • Bitcoin‘s sales pitch was based on freedom from regulation. Not so fast, say the feds… more>>

 

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Black money news: recommended reading

March 8, 2013

• Jiminy cricket! Our friend El Grillo says a “Stockholm suicide bomber falsely claimed student loans to fund his terrorist activity.”  The latest case of debt financing the jihadmore>>

• The good news is that Indian financial institutions are getting better about filing suspicious transaction reports. The bad news is that it makes it look like India has experienced a 300 percent increase in terrorist financing activity since last year.  Maybe they have… more>>

• Which way is the wind blowing?  Towards Iran.  Just ask Europe about its renewable energy sanctions waiver for Iranian wind power.  Thanks to Willauer Prosky for sending this in… more>>

• International financial watchdog FATF is supposed to counter the financing of terrorism. But lately it seems more focused on getting countries to pass meaningless laws and high-fiving itself… more from Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld>>

Money Jihad has covered the illicit wildlife trade, particularly in cheetahs by rich Arab buyers. But even we didn’t know how extensive the cheetah market has become in Dubai.  No reporting yet on how the smugglers use the revenues… more>>

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PKK terror financier taken into custody

March 1, 2013

A Kurdish-Swede has been arrested by Spaniards along with 21 other PKK terrorists in Spain and France.  The operatives reportedly imposed a common Marxist guerrilla fundraising technique—a revolutionary tax—on their fellow Kurds to buy weapons for terrorism against Turkey.  From Sweden’s The Local on Feb. 16:

Madrid court remands Swede on terror charges

A 65-year-old Swedish man was on Friday remanded into custody by a Madrid court on suspicion of terror crimes connected to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PPK).

“According to information from the Spanish police, he is suspected of extortion for terrorist purposes,” said Catarina Axelsson at the Foreign Ministry’s press service.

The Swede and five others were arrested in Spain on Tuesday in a series of coordinated raids which also saw 16 arrested in France.

Those detained are all suspected of belonging to the terrorist-classified Kurdish separatist movement PKK. They are suspected of having coerced other Kurds into paying a so-called “revolution tax”.

According to the charges, the collections are intended to have been used to finance the purchase of explosives and weapons for terrorist activities in Turkey.

In the course of the raids, police seized weapons and cash.

According to news agency Europa Press the Madrid court released three of the six arrested in Spain, although they remain under suspicion and are not permitted to leave the country.

The 65-year-old Swede, who is reported to be resident in the south of Sweden, is receiving assistance from the embassy and the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The PPK is a Kurdish organization founded in 1984 that fights against the Turkish state for an autonomous Kurdistan, as well as for the rights of Kurds in Turkey.

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Convicted Muslim sent £6K to attack Stockholm

August 2, 2012
Stockholm terror financier

Nasserdine at trial (middle) and mugshot (right)

An “Algerian” (a Sunni Muslim) has been found guilty of transferring nearly £6 thousand to the suicide bomber who attempted to kill shoppers on a busy street in Sweden.  Nasserdine Menni, the suicide bomber’s benefactor, believed in the money jihad.  The Koran told him to strive with his wealth for the cause of Allah, and he did.  Menni also rewarded the bomber’s widow after the Stockholm attack.

From The Scotsman on July 20:

Algerian guilty of funding terrorism

AN ALGERIAN national has been found guilty of funding terrorism but cleared of conspiracy to murder following a suicide bombing in Stockholm.

Nasserdine Menni was convicted of transferring money to Taimour Abdulwahab, who later blew himself up in the Swedish capital on 11 December 2010.

A jury at the High Court in Glasgow found a charge that Menni conspired to murder members of the Swedish public not proven.

Menni, whose age is not known, was also convicted of immigration and benefit fraud.

Addressing trial judge Lord Matthews as he left the dock, Menni said: “My Lord, I thank you very much for the justice in Scotland.”

Jurors took just over nine hours to clear Menni of an 
allegation that he conspired with Abdulwahab to further terrorist aims in carrying out the bombing with intent to murder members of the public.

But, following a 12-week trial, he was found guilty of sending a total of £5,725 to a bank account in Abdulwahab’s name in the knowledge that it could be used for terrorism purposes.

Abdulwahab rigged an Audi car with explosives in the hope it would drive people to Drottninggatan, a busy shopping street about 200 yards away, where he was waiting to set off two more devices strapped to his chest and back.

The car bomb never went off but he was unable to detonate the other two explosives as planned.

Menni moved to Glasgow in 2009 after living in Luton, where he is believed to have first met Abdulwahab, for five years.

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Terror conspirator rewarded bomber’s widow

July 26, 2012

Taimour Abdulwahab blew himself up in Stockholm, Sweden, in 2010, injuring two people in the attack.  His widow who lives in Great Britain moved in with a friend shortly after the attack.  While there, she was wired £1,000 by Nasserdine Menni, who had conspired with Abdulwahab to carry out the Stockholm strike.

Her defense?  “It is a cultural thing that when someone passes away, you ask the family if they need anything.”

“Passes away”?  Yeah, like Muhammad Atta and Osama Bin Laden “passed away,” right?

From the Daily Record last month:

Stockholm terror trial: Bomber’s wife had money wired to her, court in Glasgow hears

THE wife of a man who blew himself up in a busy Stockholm street had money wired to her by an accused conspirator to further her husband’s terrorist aims, a court has heard.

Taimour Abdulwahab died in the explosion on December 11 2010 in the Bryggargatan area of the Swedish capital.

Nasserdine Menni, whose age is unknown, is on trial at the High Court in Glasgow charged with conspiring with Abdulwahab and others to further terrorist aims, which included the use of explosive devices in the commission of an act of terrorism directed against members of the Swedish public, with intent to murder them.

Abdulwahab’s wife, Mona Thwany, 29, gave evidence at the trial today and said that in the weeks following her husband’s death, she left the family home in Luton, Bedfordshire, with her three children after it was searched by police.

She stayed with a friend, Hemel Tellis, a 29-year-old science teacher also from Luton, for about two weeks before looking for a new place, Mrs Thwany told the court.

During that time, Menni, who Mrs Thwany said she only knew as Azzedin, sent £1,000 to her through Mrs Tellis’ bank account, she said.

Mrs Thwany told the court she did not know Menni personally but that she had seen him around and had probably heard her husband mention him.

She said: “It is a cultural thing that when someone passes away, you ask the family if they need anything.”

The court heard that Abdulwahab’s parents and sister lived in Sweden.

Mrs Thwany also told the jury that her son had changed his name from Osama but would not say what he had changed it to.

At one point during her evidence, trial Judge Lord Matthews gave Mrs Thwany a warning after she refused to answer certain questions.

As she took to the stand, she told the Advocate Depute Andrew Miller: “I am here for one reason and one reason only, and that is to assist with the case concerning Mr Menni.

“As you know, previously I have had contact with the police, so I am respectfully asking you to ask questions which are relevant to this case please. I wouldn’t want to incriminate myself.”

Lord Matthews said: “It will be for me to judge what questions are and are not relevant, so you just answer them.”

Later in the proceedings, Mrs Thwany refused to say her email address out loud over fears for her privacy, but the judge told her: “Whether you like to or not, you will just have to give us it.”

She eventually wrote the email address down and it was handed around the jury.

Menni is also charged with transferring money to or for the use of Abdulwahab, in the knowledge it would be used for the purposes of terrorism

Oh, and “Cultural”?  No, it is religious.  It is common for terrorist groups such as Hamas to pay money to the families of suicide bombers.  This case illustrates how it is done privately by individual Islamists as well.  The common root is Islam, not “culture.”

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Muslim crook from West coast circumvents Sudan sanctions, absconds to Sweden

May 22, 2012

Before Pakistan and Afghanistan gave safe harbor to Osama bin Laden, Sudan did.  For this and other reasons, Sudan was designated as a state sponsor of terrorism by the U.S. in 1993.  Sanctions have not been lifted since then.  U.S. persons and businesses have been prohibited from doing business with any Sudanese banks controlled or owned by the government.

But for some reason (perhaps to help fund the jihadist Sudanese Popular Defense Forces or the Sudanese Muslim Brotherhood), Portland resident Yonas Fikre decided it would be a great idea to wire $75,000 into Sudan.  Fikre attempted to launder the $75,000 by structuring it into smaller amounts via separate transactions that would attract less attention and by funneling it from an Oregon hawala company called Red Sea Finance to a United Arab Emirates bank before final transfer to Sudan.

From Creeping Sharia on May 11:

A Portland man who recently accused the FBI of having him tortured while overseas has been indicted on allegations that he conspired to smuggle money to Sudan, as has a Seattle man alleged to have helped in the effort.

Federal prosecutors contend Portland resident Yonas Fikre conspired with his brother Dawit Woldehawariat, of San Diego, Calif., and Seattle resident Abrehaile Haile to illegally wire $75,000 to United Arab Emirates and Sudan.

The indictment, handed down Tuesday by a federal grand jury in San Diego, alleges Haile, manager at Red Sea Finance, used the money transmitting business to wire the funds. The men are accused of structuring a series of transfers to avoid reporting the full scope of the transaction to financial regulators, as required by federal law.

The allegations came two weeks after Fikre, 33, and Portland attorney Thomas Nelson held a news conference in Sweden – Fikre has been living there since his release from a United Arab Emirates prison – where they alleged Fikre had been tortured by police acting at the behest of the FBI.

Speaking with… the Associated Press, Nelson and Fikre said Fikre was first contacted by FBI agents in April 2009 while he was traveling in Sudan. A native of Eritrea, Fikre lived in Sudan as a youth before moving to Southern California with his family and ultimately settling in Portland.

Firke told The Associated Press the agents questioned him about Portland’s Masjid as-Sabr mosque, a large mosque which has seen several attendees face terrorism-related charges in the past decade.

In the indictment, federal prosecutors claim Fikre contacted his brother on April 13, 2010, and asked that he send money to an account in Dubai. The brother, Woldehawariatm is alleged to have contacted Haile the following day and asked that he wire $75,000 to the account without identifying Woldehawariat or Fikre as the sender.

Prosecutors contend Haile directed Woldehawariat to deposit smaller amounts of money into a Bank of America account he would then use to wire the money to an account in Dubai.

“Firke and Woldehawariat agreed to transfer tens of thousands of dollars from the United States to the United Arab Emirates to have the money available for use in Sudan or elsewhere,” prosecutors contended in the indictment. “Woldehawariat and Fikre wanted to conceal from the United States their connection to the money transfers.”

In the week that followed, Woldehawariat deposited at least $21,000 into the account, according to the indictment. Prosecutors contend the system was meant to avoid federal reporting requirements.

Fikre, Haile and Woldehawariat have been charged with unlawfully structuring a financial transaction and conspiring to do the same. Prosecutors go on to allege Woldehawariat failed to file tax returns in 2009 and 2010.

Haile appeared in U.S. District Court at Seattle on Wednesday. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office said he is expected to return Monday for arraignment.

Firke is not currently in custody.

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Sweden: patron of Israel boycott movement

July 31, 2011

If you follow the money, Sweden is among the leaders, if not the number one advocate, of boycotting and disinvestment in Israel.

Sweden is a primary funder of the organizations Addameer, Al Mezan, Diakonia, Alternative Information Center (through Diakonia), Defence of Children International – Palestine Section, Sabeel, and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, all of which advocate sanctions or boycotts against Israel.

Sweden is also a main donor for NDC, a conglomerate funding mechanism that finances at least eight anti-Israel organizations itself.

Elder of Ziyon has a helpful chart showing the money behind the movement.  His table also shows that a big culprit is the European Union itself, funding at least 13 such groups.

The original research comes from NGO Monitor.

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MJ’s international growth

January 12, 2010

It’s hard to believe that Money Jihad has only been around for three months.  Although this blog is about rather dreary topics of terrorist financing and Islamic taxes, I’ve had a blast, and judging from growing readership here, apparently many of you are enjoying this site as well.  I’m looking forward to continued blogging in throughout 2010.

I’d like to highlight several other websites that have helped spread the word around the world about my blog over the past month.  Please check out the Malaysian human rights/feminist Susan Loone’s blog at sloone.wordpress.com, the Swedish & English language pro-Israel, anti-jihad blog IceViking at icevikings.blogspot.com, Swedish anti-Islamist blog Jihad I Malmö, and although I’ve acknowledged them before, Sharia Finance Watch and fellow WordPress-user Creeping Sharia.  Also, I welcome the readership that has been coming to us lately through folks via LinkedIn.

Thank you, all—the more we can work together to expose the roots of jihadist finance, the better!

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