With more than a thousand men, the German police took action early in the morning in three federal states against suspects who transfer criminal money abroad.
Houses are being searched in eighty homes or other buildings in Bremen, Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia. Ten people have been arrested. They are suspected of being part of a network that would have funnelled more than 100 million euros to Turkey and Syria in particular.
The German Public Prosecution Service reports that part of the money would have been used to finance terrorism in Syria. It would be the proceeds of drug crime.
The suspects are said to belong to a ‘hawala network’. The Arabic word hawala means, among other things, transfer and stands for an informal banking system in which, based on trust, ‘hawaladars’ (transferors) ensure that cash is given to someone against a commission.
The customers can send money to another country without contracts or settlements. The networks are active worldwide, especially in the Middle East, Iran, Afghanistan and Africa.