Reports are surfacing that the Manchester suicide bomber used tax-payer students loans and benefits to “bankroll” the terror attack.
From The Telegraph:
Salman Abedi is understood to have received thousands of pounds in state funding in the run up to Monday’s atrocity even while he was overseas receiving bomb-making training.
Police are investigating Abedi’s finances, including how he paid for frequent trips to Libya where he is thought to have been taught to make bombs at a jihadist training camp.
Abedi’s finances are a major focal point in the investigation:
Abedi’s finances are a major ‘theme’ of the police inquiry amid growing alarm over the ease with which jihadists are able to manipulate Britain’s welfare and student loans system to secure financing.
One former detective said jihadists were enrolling on university courses to collect the student loans “often with no intention of turning up”.
Abedi was given at least £7,000 from the taxpayer-funded Student Loans Company after beginning a business administration degree at Salford University in October 2015.
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It is thought he received a further £7,000 in the 2016 academic year even though by then he had already dropped out of the course. Salford University declined to say if it had informed the Student Loans Company that Abedi’s funding should have been stopped.
The Department for Work and Pensions has said that Abedi was not claiming benefits in the weeks before the attack, but would not comment if he was receiving any benefits in previous years. This didn’t stop Abedi from renting three properties and buying expensive materials for his bomb.
Abedi, 22, never held down a job, according to neighbours and friends, but was able to travel regularly between the UK and Libya.
Abedi also had sufficient funds to buy materials for his sophisticated bomb while living in a rented house in south Manchester.
Six weeks before the bombing Abedi rented a second property in a block of flats in Blackley eight miles from his home, paying £700 in cash.
He had enough money to rent a third property in the centre of Manchester from where he set off with a backpack containing the bomb.
Abedi also withdrew £250 in cash three days before the attack and transferred £2,500 to his younger brother Hashim in Libya, who is accused of knowing about the attack in advance.
The tax-payer Student Loans Company spokesman refused to respond to media requests for comment during an ongoing investigation.