Swedes to lift ‘silence’ on Stockholm bomb probe

Sunday marks one year since a suicide bomber blew himself up on a Stockholm street and on Wednesday the prosecutor plans to hold what some terror experts believe is a long-overdue press conference on the status of the investigation.

Agnetha Hilding Qvarnström and the Security Service Säpo have to date been very restrictive in detailing the investigation into the attack perpetrated by Taimour Abdulwahab and his alleged accomplices.

According to a Scottish investigation into the role of a suspected accomplice, Nasserdine Menni, there was a network behind the attack.

The Scottish investigation has revealed how Menni and Abdulwahab had known each other since 2003 and planned the attack over the course of several years.

The Swedish investigation has hitherto yielded few public details.

Swedish terrorism expert Magnus Ranstorp has questioned whether it’s appropriate for a year to pass the before Säpo gives its version about the events on Bryggargatan in central Stockholm and Abdulwahab’s history.

“It is after all one of the most serious terrorist incidents that has occurred in Sweden,” Ranstorp wrote in an op-ed in the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet (SvD).

Ranstorp predicted that there will be “a curtain of secrecy” when Säpo describes its investigative methods at Wednesday’s press conference.

He argued that the Security Service would have benefited from being more open about the investigation, pointing out there are a number of issues of general interest which should be answered.

A cloak of privacy can at times appear to be counter-productive, he argued, contrasting the Swedish investigation with the more open attitude of the Danish and British secret services.

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Suicide bomber lived off Swedish student aid

Stockholm suicide bomber Taimour Abdulwahab received more money from the Swedish state than from his terrorist financiers, including a 54,000-kronor ($8,550) payout made after he bled to death in his failed terror bid.

Suicide bomber lived off Swedish student aid

All told, Abdulwahab received nearly 750,000 kronor ($119,000) from the Swedish National Board for Student Aid (Centrala studiestödsnämnden, CSN), the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper reports.

The figure is more than ten times the estimated $8,000 sum cited in a Scottish court’s conviction last year of Nesserdine Menni, who was sentenced to seven years in prison for funding Abdulwahab’s December 2010 attack in Stockholm.

The revelations come from Swedish author Mats Ekman, the author of a book on Iraqi intelligence activities in Sweden during Saddam Hussein’s rule of Iraq.

Ekman examined all of Abdulwahab’s student aid applications and payments, and discovered the Stockholm suicide bomber frequently sent certificates to CSN verifying his coursework.

“I would like to thank CSN and wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,” Abdulwahab wrote at the end of one of his letters to the agency.

According to Ekman’s research, Abdulwahab first applied for student aid in the late 1990s and used the money he received from the Swedish agency to fund his studies in Luton, England, the place where the Iraqi-born Swede is believed to have became inspired by militant Islamism.

It remains unclear what happened to the 54,000 kronor sent by CSN to Abdulwahab two days after he died in the December 2012 suicide bomb attack in a busy shopping district in central Stockholm.

After Abdulwahab’s death, CSN subsequently wrote off 670,000 kronor of his student loan debt.

Prosecutor Agnetha Hilding Qvarnström continues to investigate the suicide bomb attack but refused to speculate on how much money Abdulwahab may have spent or whether Swedish student aid money may have been used to buy materials used in the bomb attack.

Hilding Qvarnström is expected to present her investigation some time in the spring.

The revelations may also lead to changes in how CSN deals with outstanding debts when someone dies with outstanding dues.

“This has been a real eye-opener for us,” CSN spokesman Klas Elfving told DN, adding that the payment was authorized on December 9th, prior to Abdulwahab’s death.

The Local/dl

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