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Three people arrested for Hawala remittances

01 October 2014 / 19:10:15  GRReporter
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Translated from Arabic "hawala" means wire. The word also has a metaphorical meaning, which indicates a popular means in the Arab world to carry "black" money. The Hawala method was used by the terrorist network Al Qaeda to finance its individual cores. It is based on a network of people who are in different parts of the world and carry money without the intermediation of financial institutions.

Greek police broke up a link of this network in Athens. It was an illegal functioning currency exchange on Triti Setemvriou Street in the centre of Athens, from which around € 4.5 million were sent to Middle East countries.

During the campaign carried out within the framework of the Theseus Operation with members of the anti-financial crimes service, 47,600 euros and 2,300 dollars in cash, and about 5,000 receipts were found in the room, evidencing shipment of over 4.5 million euros to countries like Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Somalia and others.

Two employees were arrested in this case – Afghan citizens aged 24 and 30 years and a 30-year Greek woman who claims to be the legitimate owner of the site. Police are still searching for two other participants in the network, also from Afghanistan.

According to police sources, four Afghans accompanied clients when they went to and left the currency exchange desk, to make sure that they are not subject to monitoring by the police.

The Hawala system works as follows: If an immigrant in Greece wants to send money to anyone in the country, they give the sum to the intermediary who in turn informs their "colleague" in that place. Then this “colleague” pays the recipient in local currency.

Members of the group also offered other illegal services such as the supply of false documents in order to travel to other countries and sale of SIM cards registered in the names of unknown people.

In mid-September, police revealed another similar case of illegal currency exchange on Ipirou street. Two people were arrested in that case - one from Somalia and one from Bangladesh. 106,000 euros and 3,300 dollars were found in the room, and the amount sent by the hawala method is believed to be over 2 million euros. In this case the captured people were accused of selling illegal documents to foreigners who wanted to go to other member states of the European Union.

Meanwhile, allegations of racist treatment of immigrants by members of the Greek police and their connections with Golden Dawn continue. This time they are being made ​​by special European squads for Frontex border guards and foreign embassies in Athens.

According to a publication in To Vima newspaper, this is evidenced from the data in the report of the Interior Office of the Greek police for 2013. The investigation began after a complaint by Frontex, under which police officers from the Evros region beat illegal immigrants from the Dominican Republic and robbed them.

In the month of May 2013 the Embassy of Libya submitted a verbal note in connection with the complaint of a citizen of the country who became an object of beatings by police in central Athens. The man arrived in Greece to visit his ill brother. While they were near the Acropolis, he was arrested and taken to the police station where he was beaten. According to the pre-trial file an officer and three policemen were involved in the beating.

Many other instances of racist violence that involved hundreds of policemen were described in the report. 

Tags: Crime news Hawala method money transfers arrests false documents Greek police racist violence
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