On 10 May 2018, a network of suspected AQ-linked Italian jihadists were arrested in Sardinia and in northern Italy. Ten of the individuals detained were accused of money laundering and distributing money to the jihadists, while another four are suspected of being a support cell for al-Nusra front (Hayat Tahrir al-Sham).

Funds were reportedly raised from Italy, Sweden, Hungary and Turkey and moved through hawala to Austria, Germany, Holland and Denmark as well as the Middle East.  Funds transfers involved hundreds of thousands of euros. In total, police tracked about €2 million.  The funds were generated primarily through people smuggling operations, and were used to buy weapons and pick-up trucks and other battle supplies. A Syrian living in Sweden was also arrested on suspicion of funding terrorism.

Analysis: The funds originating across Europe suggest other possible networks, cells, or terrorist supporters in those European countries. The source of funds, people smuggling operations, also suggests that there are at least some extremist elements in these organized criminal operations that are diverting some funds from criminal activity to terrorist purposes.

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crime, Terrorist Financing


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