On June 18, the Spanish National Police disrupted a criminal organisation that was reportedly financing al-Qaeda terrorist militias.
Ten individuals were arrested, and 14 house and premises searches were carried out, involving more than 350 police officers in the complex operation carried out in Madrid, Valencia and Toledo. The Spanish authorities were supported by Europol, with three experts from the European Counter Terrorism Centre and two experts equipped with mobile offices and ‘universal forensic extraction devices’ to support investigations at the scene. Information gathered during the operation was analysed and exchanged in real time and immediately cross-matched against Europol's databases.
According to Europol, the leaders of the organisation form a family clan that has committed tax fraud and money laundering crimes through the massive use of false invoices obtained by an illegal business it had been running for years. The proceeds of its business were sent to Syria via the Hawala system, allowing the transfer of money without any physical transportation of cash, in order to support terrorist militias in the Syrian region of Idlib.