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MELILLA

Spanish jihadi cell funded through Danish tax fraud on chicken, cheese and chocolate

A Spanish jihadist cell funded itself through tax fraud on chicken, cheese and chocolate sold in Denmark, according to an investigation published Tuesday led by non-profit European newsroom Correctiv.

Spanish jihadi cell funded through Danish tax fraud on chicken, cheese and chocolate
Photo: AFP

The cell had raised at least eight million euros ($9 million) through the scheme since 2005 and spent it sending 24 Moroccans and two Spaniards to Syria, Mali and Libya to fight for the Islamic State group, said online newspaper El Confidencial, a Correctiv member.

Six members of the cell based in Melilla, a speck of Spanish territory on the north coast of Africa, were arrested in 2014, a spokesman for the Guardia Civil police force told AFP.

A judicial investigation into the group's activities is still underway, he added.

Through contacts with jihadists in Denmark, the group formed ties with 42 mainly Danish firms and managed to put its members or supporters in senior compnay positions over the years, according to the El Confidencial report.   

The cell used loopholes in European law to not pay value-added tax (VAT) on the food products sold by these firms, using a complex network of shell companies.

VAT fraud sees criminal groups   embezzle 50 billion euros a year intended for state coffers in the European Union, said Correctiv, a collective of 42 European media outlets.

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SYRIA

Danish convert killed by West in Syria: reports

An 18-year-old Dane who had converted to Islam and supported the terrorist group Isis died in Syria over the Christmas holiday, several media outlets have reported.

Danish convert killed by West in Syria: reports
The 18-year-old is at least the 16th to have died while fighting in either Syria or Iraq. Photo: Stringer/Scanpix
A Danish teenager, identified as ‘LD’ in most media reports but by his full name on the controversial website Syrienblog, reportedly died in Ayn al-Arab on Christmas Day. 
 
According to sources, the 18-year-old LD was killed by a US-led air strike, making him the first Danish citizen to die at the hands of Western forces in Syria. Politiken spoke to another Danish fighter in Syria as well as other individuals in Denmark’s extremist Islamic community who all confirmed the death. 
 
The Danish Security and Intelligence Service (PET) has declined to comment on the reports and the Foreign Ministry has said that it could neither confirm nor deny the death. 
 
The media reports portray LD as a typical Danish teenager who was brought up in the southern part of Copenhagen. He allegedly converted to Islam just a few short years before going to Syria. 
 
Politiken reports that LD arrived in Syria in May 2014 and served as a first aid worker assisting war victims before joining up with Isis a few months later. A photo posted on Syrienblog purports to show LD sitting in a room with other men under an Isis flag. 
 
When LD was killed, he was going under the name Abu Ismail. 
 
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