Two Syrians accused of money laundering in Spain

Spanish police have arrested two Syrians on suspicion of laundering money for Islamic extremists, the Interior Ministry said Wednesday. It identified them as Bassan Dalati Satut, 48, and Samer Dabbas, 30, both from the Syrian city of Aleppo. They were arrested Tuesday in Madrid. The men are accused of creating front companies to launder money contributed by members or supporters of radical Islamic organizations, the ministry said in a statement. They face preliminary charges of collaborating with a terrorist organization, money laundering and fraud. Police who searched their homes allegedly found $165,000 in a hidden strong box, and press clippings about Islamic terrorism. Dalati Satut is suspected of running the front companies, which operated in the real estate sector, the ministry said. It said he took over this role from another Syrian businessman, Mohamed Ghaleb Kalaje Zouaydi, who is serving a nine-year prison term in Spain. Zouaydi was convicted in 2005 of belonging to a Spain-based Islamic cell accused of helping plan the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States. A man named Bassan Dalati Satut also stood trial in that case and was acquitted of belonging to the cell. The Interior Ministry said it did not know if the man arrested Tuesday in Madrid is the same person.