Sweden: Arrests in terror financing probe

According to the Swedish press, three people have been arrested - ages 41, 42, and 48. There is, however, contradictory information about them. According to one news site, the 42 year old is Somali, according to another he's an ethnic Swede. His non-profit organization organized pilgrimage trips to Mecca. The brother of the 42 year old, also suspected of fraud, said that this is a witch-hunt against Somali business in Rinkby.

The preschool in question is a Muslim-Somali school.

Police arrested two people on Tuesday for allegedly defrauding Stockholm taxpayers of millions of kronor, on the pretext that the money was to be used to finance preschools. The money was allegedly transferred to accounts in Africa and the Middle East, in a case that is reported to have links to a terror financing probe.

The arrests are related to the arrest on Friday of a 41-year-old preschool principal on suspicion of tax and bookeeping offences.

Prosecutor Björn Rosenlöf told Dagens Nyheter that at least 9 million kronor has been illegally transferred from Stockholm daycare centres to accounts in Africa and the Middle East.

The money was paid to the principal's company, Bismilahi AB, by Stockholm council. It was then forwarded by four charities based in Rinkeby, one of Stockholm's western suburbs. Bismilahi received a total of 23.5 million kronor of government money in 2006 to run Muslim preschools.

The investigation into the daycare swindle is linked to an investigation into a 42-year-old man suspected of financing terrorism, Dagens Nyheter writes.

The 42-year-old, who runs a not-for-profit organization, is suspected of serious breach of bookeeping rules and of hindering tax controls. Svenska Dagbladet reports that the man's organization is suspected by the Swedish Security Police (Säpo) of transferring a large sum of money to foreign terrorist groups. The man is also suspected of having used his own money to fund terror organizations.

The man, who denies all accusations against him, was arrested in late November and was released on bail one month later. He is the subject of a travel ban and must report to the police once a week.

Sources: The Local (English), Svenska Dagbladet, Dagens Nyheter (Swedish)

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