An Egyptian Islamist former owner head of a Swedish science school, who absconded with hundreds of thousands of euro in school funding provided by the Swedish State, planned to use the loot he hid away in Malta to purchase a hotel in Saudi Arabia.
The Gothenburg science school’s principal Abdel Nasser El Nadi emptied the school coffers of over four million kroner (€400,000) before he fled the country in 2019 after being classified as a security risk by the Swedish Security Police (SÄPO).
Reports in the Swedish press on Wednesday say El Nadi stashed the money away in a private investment fund in Malta and at a Saudi Arabian bank just before he escaped from Sweden. The Islamist had plans to purchase half the shares in a large hotel complex in the Saudi city of Khamis Mushayt with the loot.
The case came to light in November 2019 after an investigation by two Swedish newspapers, Expressen and Doku.
In May 2019, El Nadi was taken into custody by the Swedish Security Police (SÄPO) and the Swedish migration board, along with five others, as part of a crackdown on the threat of Islamist terrorism in the country.
The crackdown took place after Expressen reported how several Islamic State returnees to Sweden were employed at the school, and the SÄPO flagged El Nadi’s students as at risk of being exposed to ISIS recruitment and radicalisation.
El Nadi was released in September of that year from the migration board’s detention centre, where he had been placed at the specific request of the SÄPO.
The SÄPO believes that El Nadi is one of the leading players behind a violent Islamist environment in Sweden. They also believe that he is at least partially accountable for the relatively large numbers of people from the Gothenburg area that participated in Islamic State hostilities in Syria, actions for which El Nadi had repeatedly expressed his support.
He is also reportedly a central figure in the Salafist movement and has been accused of being a recruiter for terrorists. At least four Islamic State fighters returning from Syria have reportedly worked at the school. An employee of the school had also been convicted in 2017 for soliciting terrorism funding.
El Nadi was the owner and principal of the Gothenburg School of Science. The science school is registered as a non-denominational free school, and between 2013 and last summer, it received about €25 million in Swedish state funding for its operations.
The school changed its name after it was sold in September 2019. The woman who took over the school after El Nadi’s disappearance has now gone into bankruptcy and was sentenced to ten months in prison for her involvement.
The fund transfers to Malta
Investigations have revealed that in February 2019, El Nadi sent over €400,000 from a company he co-chairs to a private investment account in Malta that he shares with an unnamed Saudi Arabian woman. The science school also transferred large sums to a bank in Saudi Arabia.
In addition to the transfer of funds to Malta, investigations have also shown other companies affiliated with El Nadi have also transferred large sums to the investment account in Malta owned by El Nadi and the Saudi.
Just a few days after the €400,000 transaction to Malta in February 2019, another person linked to the El Nadi Group is reported to have travelled to Saudi Arabia, where Swedish authorities were able to confirm that he logged in to the bank’s system with his banking ID.
The newspapers revealed how El Nadi’s education group, which includes several independent school activities funded by the State, sent copious amounts of funds abroad. Bank statements show how that money was regularly transferred between various companies and people closely linked to El Nadi and the science school.
El Nadi, however, says he was cheated out of the money by the Saudi woman with whom he shared the account in Malta.
A similar explanation was given by the hotel owner in Saudi Arabia as the reason El Nadi pulled out of the hotel deal at the last minute. When Expressen contacted the owners who were on the verge of selling to El Nadi, they said, “We sent all the papers required to complete the deal, but it never happened.”
“The reason we stopped the whole deal was that he was arrested in Sweden. I learned from him that he had transferred a sum of money to Malta to invest in gold shares but that he lost it all.”