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NBI confirms: terrorism investigation linked with Somalia’s al-Shabaab
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has confirmed previous press reports that the ongoing investigation of suspected fundraising and recruitment for terrorist activities abroad involves support for the hard-line Islamic al-Shabaab movement in Somalia.
Al-Shabaab currently controls large areas in Somalia, and the UN Security Council and the Council of Europe, among others, have classified it as a terrorist organisation.
The Finnish Security Intelligence Service (SUPO) has monitored al-Shabaab’s contacts with Finland in recent years.
The NBI suspects that the 34-year-old Helsinki man and the 28-year-old Vantaa woman have sent money to Somalia. Police have also examined the premises of more than one money transfer company.
There have been many money transfers, but only a small percentage of them are believed to involve support for terrorism.
The head of the investigation, Kaj-Erik Björkvist of the NBI, characterises the sums of money involved as small. He will not specify any amount, nor would he say if the money has gone directly to a representative of the group.
The male suspect, who is currently in custody, is suspected of helping finance terrorist activities, and of recruiting at least one person to commit terrorist crimes.
Björkqvist says that the man has operated out of Finland, but that the target of recruitment, a foreign citizen, also lived abroad.
Björkqvist would not say if the person who was recruited was of Somali background, or what type of al-Shabaab activity might have been involved.
According to court documents the time of the suspected criminal activity was between June 2010 and May this year. Björkqvist says that the time frame is expected to be narrowed down as the investigation continues.
Police say that both of the two are still Somali citizens.
The man, an entrepreneur in the transport business, arrived in Finland in 2005, has a residence permit, and has applied for Finnish citizenship. The woman remanded in the case has lived in Finland since 2008 and is a student.
Björkqvist says that both of the suspects know each other. He will not say if they had contact already in Somalia, or if they first got in touch with each other when they got to Finland.
The suspects have cooperative in police interrogation, and showed a desire to bring out the facts. Björkqvist will not say if they have admitted or denied committing the suspected crimes.
Police say that the investigation covers several people, some of whom are abroad. However, nobody else has been arrested or remanded yet.
There have been ten house searches and confiscations of material. The NBI says that the material gathered in the searches gives credence to the suspected crimes.