A major Swedish bank continues to host an active account fundraising for the outlawed and designated terror group, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), despite efforts by Sweden’s government to limit the influence of the group within the country in agreement with Turkiye.
According to the Swedish news outlet, Fria Tider, the Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken (SEB) – one of the largest banks in Sweden and Scandinavia, as a whole – facilitates and hosts a customer account through which cloth symbolising the PKK has been sold.
The proceeds from those sales, the report stated, were transferred to the PKK after being deposited in the SEB account, in a continual effort to fundraise for the designated terror group.
As Europol’s ‘EU Terrorism Situation & Trend Report 2022’ detailed last year, the PKK continues to “use Europe for fundraising by legal and illegal means,” through methods including “fundraising campaigns and donations, as well as extortion and other organised criminal activities.”
It added that, over the years, “PKK members were also allegedly involved in organised crime activities such as money laundering, racketeering, extortion and drug trafficking.”
Those funds are then, reportedly, used to carry out attacks on the public and security forces within south-eastern Turkiye, as well as in northern Syria and northern Iraq, where some of the organisation’s affiliate militias operate.
In a statement on 5 January, SEB spokesperson, Niklas Magnusson, insisted that “The bank complies with legislation and is against illegal trade, which constitutes a crime.” The news outlet, however, pointed out that the account at the bank and a phone number associated with it are both still active, calling the SEB’s failure to close down the account “hypocrisy” in light of its numerous statements against terror-financing and money laundering.
The SEB’s reported continual facilitation of an account affiliated with the PKK comes as the Swedish government, this month, established new anti-terror laws in an attempt to take greater steps to crack down on the group’s presence in the country and its influence within its political system.
Those efforts are part of an agreement with Turkiye, which has blocked its bid – as well as Finland’s – to join the NATO alliance until they fulfil conditions such as combatting the PKK and other security threats, extraditing wanted individuals and lifting of certain restrictions on Ankara.