Swedish jihadists funded themselves through benefits, govt says ‘unacceptable’ — RT News
The report examined hundreds of individuals who left to join extremist groups such as Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) between 2013 and 2016. Commissioned at the request of the Financial Supervisory Authority, it has found that the majority was still receiving living allowance, child benefit, maintenance support and parental benefits while abroad, having other people handle their mail to make it look like they were still at home.
In some cases, the individuals also applied for overseas study loans.
“This is of course totally unacceptable. No state funds should be used for anything even close to terrorism,” Anna Ekstrom, the Minister for Upper Secondary School and Adult Education, told the public television channel SVT.
“We need to get a hold of this issue immediately. We are preparing now to go to parliament and ensure that the government gets the opportunity to stop the payout of such large sums at once.”
The money collected is usually transferred to foreign accounts, making it harder to trace.
The tax authorities also noted that payday loans have been taken out to finance trips to Syria and Iraq, but since 2015 have become less common, probably because their recipients intended to return to Sweden. In 5-10 suspected cases, cars have also been rented and driven out of the country, either to be used in the conflict zone or sold.
According to a group’s instruction manual, IS has encouraged its members abroad to seek benefits if they’re able to do so.
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