Norway’s white collar crime unit Økokrim is using a special unit that tracks the finances of suspected criminals to help investigate terror financing on behalf of police intelligence unit PST, reports newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN).
PST, which continues to grapple with a high terror threat level in Norway, also suspects that terrorist organizations abroad are receiving large amounts of funding from followers and sympathizers in Norway.
A special team of 18 investigators, including police and civilian accountants, are charged with tracing suspicious transfers of money from Norway to accounts abroad. The challenge, reported DN, is that unlike criminals who try to whitewash illegally obtained funds, the money financing terrorist groups often has been earned and transferred legitimately in relatively small amounts. Some of it likely includes welfare payments made in Norway and is disguised as transfers to relatives or as foreign aid.
“The sources of terror financing can be large,” Sven Arild Damslora of Økokrim told DN. “It’s a challenge for us.” In some cases, though, the police have frozen the funds of suspected or known terrorists, including the young man from Skien now boasting of fighting for IS in Syria and Iraq, a 23-year-old Norwegian convert to Islam from Fredrikstad who traveled to Syria in 2013, and another young asylum seeker who also had been living in Fredrikstad but went off to fight with IS and was killed in December.