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Organised crime group financed terrorists by organising the transfer of people, earning almost $600 million

A 33-year-old Syrian, founder and member of an international organized crime group, wanted on a European Arrest Warrant, was detained in Germany by officers of the Border Guard and the German Police. The man was the organiser of illegal migration from Belarus, through Poland, to Western European countries.

Together with other people, he transferred at least USD 30 million in cryptocurrencies from the funds obtained in this way to terrorist organizations: the armed wing of Hezbollah and the Palestinian Jihad. The investigation is being conducted by the Bug River Branch of the Border Guard under the supervision of the Lublin Branch of the Department for Organized Crime and Corruption of the National Prosecutor’s Office in Lublin.

The Syrian was detained during operations coordinated by Europol carried out simultaneously in eight European countries. It was the implementation of the so-called Common Action Day, during which the main organizers of illegal migration were detained in Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Sweden. 5 people were caught in the operation in the country, including 2 in the act of transporting 10 illegal migrants.

According to investigators, the 33-year-old Syrian was the founder and member of an organized international criminal group that transferred PLN 3,500 from March 2021 to November 2023. people, including from Syria, Yemen and Iraq to Belarus. The foreigners then went to Poland and further to Western European countries. The man’s role was also to conduct financial settlements for his own needs and those of other criminal groups operating on a large scale in Poland and Europe. According to preliminary calculations, a Syrian citizen obtained a financial benefit of at least EUR 1.67 million from organizing the transfer of people across the border, making this practice a permanent source of income for himself. The group’s area of ​​operations included Poland, Belarus, Germany and the Middle East countries: Iran, Yemen, Iraq and Syria.

At short intervals, group members, within the established division of roles, collected and transferred funds with the intention of financing terrorist crimes. According to preliminary estimates, the scale of cryptocurrency flows on the disclosed wallets is around $581 million. Of this amount, approximately PLN 30 million concerned transfers linked to the accounts of the armed wing of Hezbollalhu and Palestinian Jihad.

Thanks to the painstaking work of investigators from the Bug River Branch of the Border Guard and the Lublin Branch of the Department of Organized Crime and Corruption of the National Prosecutor’s Office in Lublin, the person of the main suspect in the case, a 33-year-old Syrian, was personalized. His place of residence in Germany was also established, where he was arrested on the basis of a European Arrest Warrant. The man is waiting for the decision of the German court regarding his transfer to Poland. He will be charged with leading and participating in an organized criminal group, organizing illegal migration and financing terrorism. He faces a penalty of up to 15 years in prison.