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Norway charity accused of money laundering

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Norway charity accused of money laundering
Loai Deeb, founder of the Global Network for Rights and Development. Photo: Jehad Jaghoub/Flickr
10:37 CEST+02:00
A Norwegian human rights organisation and its Palestinian-born leader have been accused of money laundering and receiving stolen goods.
The Global Network for Rights and Development (GNRD), based in Stavanger, and its leader Loai Deeb have been charged for laundering more than 100 million Norwegian kroner ($13 million).
 
Norwegian authorities believe that the money, received from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) came from crime. 
 
"The money has come from abroad, aside from that we have no further comment," Håvard Kampen of The Norwegian National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime. told broadcaster NRK.
 
GNRD was founded in 2008 and has since then grown rapidly, and now has more than a hundred employees in Jordan, Belgium, the UAE, Switzerland, the UK and Spain.
 
The organisation has developed its own human rights index to evaluate countries' human rights performance.
 
Controversially, the UAE scored higher than a number of western countries like the UK, Germany and the United States in its latest ranking.
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This fact has been used by UAE officials in newspaper articles to improve the countries international image. 
 
In 2011, Deeb was accused of founding a fake university, the Scandinavian University. He claimed to have more than 500 employees, yet was based in Deeb's one storey private home outside Stavanger in Norway.
 
The Ministry of Education and Research has since shut down the operation.
 
”We take this situation very seriously. When schools that are not registered universities use the title, it may mislead students and others into believing that we have registered them,” Lars Vasbotten at the Ministry of Education told Aftenposten at the time.
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