Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Scottish police investigate PKK funding claims

PKK fighter in northern Iraq, file pic, 2005 Image copyright AFP
Image caption The PKK is considered a terrorist organisation by the UK

Counter-terror police in Edinburgh are carrying out a major investigation into fears a Kurdish rebel group is being financed from the city.

Officers are investigating claims a number of individuals have been linked to the financing of Kurdish militia.

The probe is reportedly being centred on the PKK, known as the Kurdistan Workers' Party, which is based in Turkey and Iraq.

Police said they have carried out a number of raids as part of the inquiry.

The investigation is examining allegations of fraud and immigration offences.

The PKK has led an armed struggle against the Turkish government on and off for the past 30 years and is considered a terrorist organisation by the UK.

A senior anti-terror officer has reassured the Scottish public that no-one was in danger at any time.

Det Ch Sup Gerry McLean, head of the Organised Crime and Counter Terrorism Unit, said: "As part of a police investigation along with partner agencies, we executed a number of search warrants in relation to financial investigation and suspected fraud.

"Matters have now been reported to the procurator fiscal, and as such it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.

"I would like to reassure the public that there was no danger to them at any time."

The Herald newspaper reported on Saturday that a formal written briefing has been issued by Police Scotland to the Scottish Police Authority, outlining the investigation so far.

Immigration offences

The letter states: "Elite organised crime and the counter terrorism units are leading a multi-agency investigation into individuals assessed to be fundraising for a proscribed terrorist organisation.

"Executive action in collaboration with several partnership agencies was conducted in the east of Scotland.

"Locations were searched under the Customs and Excise Management Act, Common Law Fraud and the Terrorism Act.

"Subsequent investigation identified additional immigration act offences, with a significant sum of money potentially eligible for Proceeds of Crime Act confiscation.

"This operation has provided investigative opportunities to allow continued collaboration with Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, Trading Standards and Home Office Immigration Enforcement."

A report has now been sent to the procurator fiscal to assess whether to charge the individuals identified by the police.

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