Government accidentally funds terrorists in Germany - report
Around 1 million euro in COVID-19 relief funds aimed at businesses might have ended up in the pockets of terrorist groups in the Middle East, German media reported, citing sources in the Berlin police.
The misuse of coronavirus aid to finance terrorist activities was reported by German newspaper Welt am Sonntag.
"In individual cases there is a suspicion of direct terrorism financing," a source within Berlin law enforcement told the newspaper.
According to the report, law enforcement in Germany’s capital is currently conducting over 100 investigations into potential misuse of coronavirus aid for terrorism funding.
The fraud may yield lengthy prison terms for perpetrators, ranging from five to 10 years behind bars in the most aggravated cases. The funds were originally intended to support businesses struggling with the pandemic and it was not immediately clear how the cash ended up in the hands of terrorist groups.
The misused funds are estimated to total around 1 million euro, while some 250,000 euro was seized by police during searches. In at least three cases the fraudulently procured funds were used to directly support terrorist groups active in the Middle East.