Glasgow & West Scotland

Nasserdine Menni guilty of funding Stockholm bomb attack

Nasserdine Menni
Image caption Nasserdine Menni denies the charges against him

A Glasgow-based asylum seeker has been convicted of financing terrorism over a suicide bomb attack in Sweden.

A jury at the High Court in Glasgow found that Algerian Nasserdine Menni supplied money to Taimour Abdulwahab to help fund the attack.

Abdulwahab - an Iraqi-born Swedish citizen - killed himself on 11 December 2010 in an explosion in Stockholm.

Menni, who met Abdulwahab in Luton, Bedfordshire, was found not proven of a conspiracy to murder charge.

During the 11-week trial, the court heard how Abdulwahab intended to kill himself and others on the busy pre Christmas shopping streets of Stockholm.

He bought a second hand Audi car and packed it with petrol canisters, gas cylinders, and a "pressure cooker" type bomb, filled with nails, ball bearings and explosives.

Despite setting fire to the vehicle, Abdulwahab failed to detonate the devices inside.

Shoppers targeted

The court was told he intended to use the car explosion to push shoppers towards the pedestrian area of the city, where he was waiting with three explosive devices attached to his body.

Abdulwahab was seen on CCTV trying to detonate one of the devices and succeeded in blowing himself up 15 minutes after the car was set on fire.

He was declared dead at the scene. Two passers-by were injured.

Image caption The explosion targeted shoppers in central Stockholm in December 2010

Shortly before the incidents, his wife had sent email messages explaining the reasons for his martyrdom to Swedish media and police.

These stated: "We are not a lie, or an imagination, we are for real and now exist amongst you Europeans. So stop your drawings, stop your drawings of our Prophet Mohammed. Withdraw your soldiers from Afghanistan and no more oppression against Islam or Muslims will be tolerated."

Police recovered a mobile phone from Abdulwahab's body from which he had made two calls earlier that day to a mobile in Glasgow.

Within days, Menni - who was known to some in Glasgow as an asylum seeking Kuwaiti called Ezeeden Al-Khaledi - had been identified as the owner of the phone.

He was placed under surveillance and the subsequent investigation revealed extensive links between the two men.

The court was told that Menni is believed to have come to the UK in 2005.

From April that year he worked at Magna Seating at Dunstable, making seats for the automotive industry.

False name

He was employed under the name of Emmanuel Philip Bernard, and claimed he was French. He lived in Luton, where he became friendly with Abdulwahab.

The bomber was born in Iraq, but moved to Sweden as a young boy.

Abdulwahab moved to the UK in 2001 to attend University in Luton, and stayed on after graduating and was married with two children.

Image caption Taimour Abdulwahab blew himself up in the attack in Stockholm

According to police, the two men became close after meeting in Luton and were in contact on a daily basis, by phone, email and in person.

Abdulwahab is said to have became radicalised at some point and his views caused concern among others at a mosque he attended in Luton.

It is thought that Menni also became radicalised in early 2009. In April that year he left his job in Dunstable in an apparent attempt to distance himself from Abdulwahab.

After surfacing in Liverpool, he claimed asylum using the identity of a Kuwaiti Bedouin called Ezeeden Al-Khaledi.

As part of the asylum dispersal programme, he was sent to Glasgow where he lived in a number of locations around the city.

During this time he used a number of aliases to fraudulently claim benefits. He also managed to save money from various jobs.

Police later discovered that Menni had a number of bank accounts in various aliases through which he transferred cash to Abdulwahab to fund the terror plot.

Menni deposited amounts totalling £5,725 which helped pay for Abdulwahab's trips abroad for the "purposes of Jihad" and the Audi car used in the bombing.

Deleted emails

Another £1,000 was sent intended for Abdulwahab's wife after his death.

It emerged during the trial that Menni and Abdulwahab also had access to an email address with a password that included the figures "911" - thought to be a reference to the Twin Towers attack in New York.

It is believed they would discuss tactics with each other in messages saved in the account's "drafts" folder before they were deleted. This meant no emails were ever actually sent between them leaving no trail.

Menni also suspiciously used other people's computers while in Glasgow to contact Abdulwahab - despite having the means to buy one for himself.

Police eventually homed in on Menni on 15 December 2010 - days after the blast.

Menni, who was described in court as an "intelligent, but accomplished liar", claimed to have no knowledge of the suicide bomber despite having recently sent £1,000 for his wife.

He had also left Abdulwahab a distressed voicemail asking: "Why did you kill yourself?"

Detectives kept watch on Menni and raided his 19th floor tower block flat in Glasgow's Whiteinch area on 7 March last year.

The agencies involved in bringing him to justice following the bombing, include the FBI, the Swedish, French, Algerian , Norwegian, Kuwaiti, and UK police and security services.

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