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French jihadists get welfare benefits from France while fighting in Syria

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French jihadists get welfare benefits from France while fighting in Syria
Photo: AFP
16:39 CEST+02:00
French jihadists fighting in Syria have been able to claim their unemployment benefits from France, according to a new report, which they have used to finance terror group Isis.

French investigators have discovered a major scam that saw jihadists using their unemployment benefit or family allowance paid in France to help fund Isis in Syria, according to Le Figaro newspaper

At the height of the scam some 20 percent of the French jihadist fighters in Syria were still accessing their social benefits from France, the paper reported.

Relatives of jihadists had been allegedly going to French employment centres to collect their family members' monthly benefits, then transferring the funds abroad. 

“Armed with their cards and photos, the parents were able to access the funding from the Unemployment Agency or the Family Allowances and send it to combat zones, mostly via Turkey,” an investigator tasked with looking into the illegal financing of Isis, told Le Figaro.

Last year at least 420 fraudulent withdrawals of this kind were made.

The investigators said that there were 190 known people involved in making the money transfers from the French side, and 210 people collecting the money on the other side.

Since the revelations were made, police have started sharing information about those receiving the money, so that they can be removed from the lists of the welfare groups. 

The investigators looking the illegal financing of Isis found that some €500,000 had been sent from France between 2012 and 2017.

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