Europol supported the Spanish National Police (Policía Nacional) in arresting a man in Madrid suspected of transferring money between several European and Arabian countries via the Hawala informal money transfer system with the aim of reintroducing foreign terrorist fighters in Europe.
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The information gathered from previous successful operations led the Spanish officers to locate this individual and to identify him as being part of a transnational financial network with links in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. Despite his young age, the arrestee was experienced in transferring money from supporters of the so-called Islamic State to Syria – where the terrorist leaders are suspected of financially supporting the return to Europe of foreign terrorist fighters. At the same time, these foreign fighters are suspected of using social media networks to collect money to support the so-called Islamic State: once they found a possible investor, they would put that person in touch with the leaders in Syria.
A house search was carried out during the action day, alongside the seizure of a vehicle in which the officers found relevant material for the investigation.
During the action day, an expert from Europol’s European Counter Terrorism Centre was deployed to Madrid to provide on-the-spot support and the analysis of the seized data.