Tax agency to tackle terrorism financing

The Swedish Tax Agency is hoping to use the nation's tax law as a tool to combat suspected terrorists and it plans to employ the so-called Al Capone model to go after those who fund terrorism.

The model is named after the infamous American mobster who was convicted in the 1930s not for being a killer or a bootlegger but rather for evading taxes on his illegal income.

Newspaper Dagens Nyheter reported Tuesday that the Swedish Tax Agency hopes to stop suspected terrorists, or those who support them, by hitting them in their pocketbooks. 

So far, 77 individuals have been investigated for having suspected direct or indirect links to terrorist networks. Of those cases, 16 have been closed, with many resulting in an audit or a higher tax bill. 

"So far, in total we have levied more than SEK 4 million in taxes and surtaxes on these individuals," said Pia Bergman, the agency's coordinator against organized crime.

Terrorism expert Magnus Ranstorp at the Swedish Defence University, said he believes the initiative could make Sweden a less attractive base for terrorism.

"You can tackle those individuals more aggressively and the government can have a better understanding of their networks and patterns," Ranstorp said.