North Rhine-Westphalia: Hawala-Banking: Witness reported attempted kidnapping

Düsseldorf (dpa / lnw) - In the trial against an alleged gang of money smugglers, a witness in Düsseldorf reported an attempted kidnapping.

North Rhine-Westphalia: Hawala-Banking: Witness reported attempted kidnapping

Düsseldorf (dpa / lnw) - In the trial against an alleged gang of money smugglers, a witness in Düsseldorf reported an attempted kidnapping. The 36-year-old testified at the Düsseldorf district court on Friday that he had been massively threatened and persecuted by the accused.

In July 2020 he was attacked on the open street in Düsseldorf at night. A man held a gun to his head and threatened: "Today you die, this is your last day." Another sprayed pepper spray in his face. The third party tried to pull him into a car that was waiting, the tax economist said.

According to the indictment, the background to the attempted kidnapping is that the 36-year-old embezzled half a million euros instead of using it to pay bills through one of his companies.

Four suspected money smugglers from Wuppertal have to answer to the Düsseldorf Regional Court in extensive criminal proceedings scheduled until April 2023. The Syrians are said to belong to an illegal hawala banking network.

For commission, they are said to have provided unauthorized payment services and transferred proceeds from drug trafficking to the Middle East. In addition to the illegal financial transactions, the indictment includes forming a criminal organization, dangerous bodily harm, taking hostages, extortion and coercion.

The hawala system, which is illegal in Germany, is an ancient transfer method in the Orient that is based on trust. Most of the payments are said to have been made from Germany and the Netherlands to Turkey, Syria and other countries in the Middle East.

If there were disputes within the network, the members should not have taken legal action, but instead resorted to vigilante justice.

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