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Sweden accuses ex-Iraqi defense chief of welfare fraud — RT World News

Najah Al-Shammari was arrested in Stockholm for allegedly demanding Swedish public benefits while living in Baghdad.

Former Iraqi Defense Minister Najah al-Shammari was arrested in Stockholm on charges of receiving taxpayer-funded benefits in Sweden while living and working in his country of origin.

Swedish authorities arrested Al-Shammari upon his arrival at Arlanda Airport in Stockholm on Monday. “He has been wanted for nearly a year and a half.” Public Prosecutor Jens Nilsson told local channel TV4 on Tuesday. “There is a warrant for his arrest in his absence.”

The matter relates to Al-Shammari's claims for housing and child benefits from Sweden, which he allegedly obtained while working in Iraq. He served as Iraq's defense minister in 2019 and 2020, after reportedly moving with his wife to Sweden in 2009 and obtaining dual citizenship in 2015. He is accused of continuing to claim Swedish benefits under a different title for years after his return to Iraq.

When Al-Shammari was appointed Minister of Defense in 2019, the government of then Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi denied media reports that the former general had obtained Swedish citizenship. He retired from the Iraqi Army in 2018, after a career that included a stint as commander of special operations forces in Baghdad.

Sweden is known for having some of the most generous asylum laws and social benefits in Europe, making it a top destination for migrants from the Middle East. Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson blamed previous Swedish governments “Irresponsible immigration policy and failed integration” He called for making it more difficult for immigrants from outside Europe to obtain social welfare benefits.

Swedish prosecutors said in November 2019 that an Iraqi government minister – identified by media as Al-Shammari – was being investigated on alleged charges. “crimes against humanity.” This investigation ended without charges being brought.

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