Sweden/Norway: Terror financing arrests

Three people were arrested in Oslo and three in the Stockholm area on suspicion of financing terror abroad. According to Dagbladet, the men arrested in Oslo are of Somali background.

In a previous terrorism financing case in Norway in 2001 two Norwegian hawala bankers were suspected of financing terrors. Three Somalis had been sentenced for laundering money.

In Sweden, in 2005 two Iraqi Kurds were sentenced to jail and to deportation for financing terror. The two men, one an imam, had sent $148,000 to Ansar Al-Islam in North Iraq.

Sweden had arrested several Somalis a month ago on similar charges.


Swedish security service Säpo has arrested three men in Stockholm suspected of preparing terrorist acts and financing terrorism.

All three men are Swedish citizens.

"The men were arrested at different addresses in the Stockholm region," Säpo spokesman Jakob Larsson told the TT news agency.

Säpo has not released details of the suspects' ages or said whether they have previous criminal records.

"I want to underline the fact that there is no connection whatsoever to the threats against Lars Vilks or the Muhammad caricatures," said Larsson.

Norway's security service PTS also arrested three men in Oslo on Thursday morning on similar charges in a raid coordinated with their Swedish counterparts.

The Oslo arrests followed a lengthy investigation carried out by Oslo police in cooperation with the police financial crimes unit.

The three men apprehended in Norway are suspected of financing acts of terrorism abroad.

The arrests were described by police in Oslo as undramatic.

Terrorist financing is viewed as a growing problem for many European countries. The Nordic region in particular has been described as a sanctuary for terrorist groups, where they can plan acts of terrorism with little risk of detection.

Säpo has previously referred to Sweden as a base for "recruitment, logistical support and financing" of terrorism.


Norway's special police unit in charge of intelligence gathering and national security has charged three persons with financing terrorist activities overseas.

The three suspects were arrested at various addresses in Oslo and have been formally charged, reported the police unit PST (Politiets sikkerhetstjeneste) on Thursday.

PST wrote in a press statement that the agency will seek remand custody for at least one if not all the suspects.

PST wouldn't immediately release any details about the three persons charged, or what led to their arrests.

The normally secretive Jørn Holme, chief of the PST, has recently been on a press offensive of sorts, claiming in newspaper Aftenposten that terrorists have actively tried to recruit young Norwegian Muslims and that money was suspected of being sent out of the country to finance terrorist attacks overseas.

Holme also spoke of "older, manipulative Islamic extremists" who were trying to motivate young Muslims into taking part in jihad in foreign countries.

Holme called the situation "more complex" than earlier, and said it therefore was necessary for PST to warn of the activity and make Norwegians aware of it.

"We need to counter this activity in the community," he said. "We rely on the cooperation of all those who have information about what's happening in extremist Islamic circles."

Sources: The Local, Aftenposten (English), Dagbladet 1, 2 (Norwegian)

See also: Sweden: France arrests Swedish Somalia fighter, Sweden: Arrests in terror financing probe

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