Thursday, October 22, 2009

Norway: Somali-Norwegian charged with financing Somali terrorism

Apparently with help from Sweden and the UK.

A 40 year old Norwegian citizen has been charged with collecting at least 200,000 Norwegian kroner for terror groups in Somalia.

According to the Norwegian security service PST, the man was a central figure in sending money to the Somali Islamist group al-Shabaab, which declared its loyalty to Osama bin-Laden in September.

According to the charges, the man sent about 135,000 kroner to al-Shabaab between August 2007 and February 2008. The prosecution say they can prove that he sent 10,000 dollars to Aden Hashi Farah Ayrow in January 2008. The al-Shabaab leader was killed in an American air-attack on May 1, 2008.

The suspect also sent a smaller sum, $500, to another central leader in al-Shabaab, Swedish citizen Fuad Khalaf.

According to the charges, the terror groups conducted a series of attacks against civil and military targets in the time-period that they've received the money.

This is the first time that the prosecution presses charges according to a new article in the penal code from June 2002. The charge carries a punishment of up to ten years in prison.

The 40 year old made the account available to Banadir Welfare Organisation, and came to the attention of the police in the fall of 2007.

The organization's stated goal was to help Somali refugees in South-Somalia and the organization was supposed to run collection drives and collect money from private persons and companies.

But the PST think that the organization was used to transfer money which went to financing terrorist against civilians in Somalia.

In August 2007 the PST started investigation the then 38 year old man. According to TV 2, in October 2007, the police economic crime unit (Økokrim ) got a report of money laundering.

A large Norwegian bank noted that the organization received cash payments and sent to the money to various recipients in Dubai. The bank reported to Økokrim that they thought they uncovered a completely new network for transferring money.

On Februrary 28, 2008, PST arrested the Norwegian-Somali on charges of terrorism financing, together with two other people. The arrests were conducted with aid from Økokrim, Kripos and the Oslo police department.

The Norwegian police also searched several internet cafes and seized computers and documents. The 40 year old was accused of having contacts and talks with central figures in al-Shabaab.

According to TV 2 sources, PST's investigation revealed that the 40 year old had contact with radical communities in Sweden and the UK.

The 40 year old had earlier admitted to supporting al-Shabaab, but claims that the militant Islamic group is a resistance movement that doesn't commit terror acts.

The charges point out that according to a UN security council decision on sanctions against Somalia, it is forbidden to deliver weapons and military equipment of any type to Somalia, as well as financing such supplies. It is also forbidden to render any technical or financial support to military activities.

The 40 year old Norwegian-Somali got his passport back from the PST and it was alleged that he was no longer in Norway.

Prosecutor Pål Lønseth did not wish to comment on whether the prosecution knows where the the 40 year old is now.

Source: TV 2 Nyhetene (Norwegian)

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