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Iraqi ex-defence minister arrested in Sweden for suspected benefits fraud

By AFP

March 19, 2024 08:49 PM


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Former Iraqi defence minister Najah al-Shammari was briefly arrested after arriving in Sweden, where he is suspected of benefits fraud, the prosecutor investigating the case said Tuesday.

Public prosecutor Jens Nilsson told AFP that Shammari was detained on Monday when he landed at Stockholm's Arlanda airport since an arrest warrant had been issued.

Nilsson added that in his assessment there was no need to detain Shammari and he had made an agreement with his lawyer that the suspect would come in for questioning the following day.

"He is suspected of aggravated benefits fraud and benefits fraud," Nilsson said in a email to AFP.

In 2019, Swedish media reported that the former minister was under investigation for claiming housing and child benefits from Sweden despite living and working in Iraq.

At the time newspaper Expressen reported that Shammari arrived in Sweden in 2009 and was granted permanent residency in 2011 before getting Swedish citizenship in 2015.

In late November 2019, Swedish prosecutors also said that an Iraqi government minister -- which media identified as Shammari -- was being investigated for "crimes against humanity," but that investigation was later closed.


AFP


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