Raids in eighty German buildings in action against money laundering network

The German police raided in three federal states early this morning in a large-scale action against an international money laundering network. It involves raids in about eighty apartments and offices in 25 places. The action, involving a thousand agents, has been detained eleven people.

One of those arrested is a 39-year-old Syrian who is said to have ties to terror group Jahbat al-Nusra.

According to Dรผsseldorf police, criminals have been channelling more than 140 million euros in black money to Turkey and Syria since 2016. The money would have been made from drug trafficking and partly used to fund terrorists in Syria, German media reports.

Hawala Network

The money would have been transferred from Germany via a so-called hawala network. This is a form of underground banking, with no licensing required and trust at the heart of it. It uses numerous intermediaries.

The raids took place in the states of North Rhine-Westphalia, Lower Saxony and Bremen. Officers raided the premises around 4am. The likelihood of suspects sleeping and not being able to destroy computers or phones at the last minute was highest at that time, German police say.

The raids also seized luxury cars, gold, jewellery and expensive watches.