Our Danish correspondent TB has compiled a series of reports on the exploitation of the Danish welfare state by well-off Iraqi immigrants. Part 1 concerned a “refugee” from Kurdistan who retired early with a generous state pension while — unbeknownst to the government — he was drawing a large salary as a member of parliament in Iraqi Kurdistan.
Tonight’s report focuses on another Iraqi chiseler:
Iraqis in Denmark, Part 2: Talaat Sayfaddin
Meet Mr. Talaat Sayfaddin, another so-called “refugee” who is exploiting Danish society to the very limit and then some. While doing absolutely nothing here in Denmark other than enjoying our hard-earned welfare, he lives the life of a millionaire when he visits the country that he “fled”. Mr. Sayfaddin was the second swindler to suddenly find himself exhibited on every newspaper stand in Denmark. A big photograph with Ekstra Bladet‘s stamp right on his face: “Welcome on The Front Page”.
Today it has been decided that more than 11,200 Iraqis living in Denmark who receive some kind of economic help from the state will be investigated, as both the Socialists and the Danish People’s Party have demanded. One of the obvious advantages of having a free press who are not afraid.
The article below about Mr. Sayfaddin is followed by a short fact-article about how much the Iraqi MPs are actually paid.
From Ekstra Bladet:
Lives a life of luxury in Iraq
Receives early retirement pension in Denmark while working as a top politician in Iraq with a high salary and fringe benefits.
Today Ekstra Bladet can reveal yet another Iraqi who hides his secret and lucrative double life.
In Denmark a 56-year-old Iraqi refugee named Talaat Sayfaddin receives an early retirement pension and is registered as living in public housing in Tilst near Århus.
In Northern Iraq he enjoys the highest standard of luxury which can possibly be provided in the Kurdish self-governing capital of Erbil.
Political upper class
Under the name ‘Tal’at Khidr Saifadeen’ he has for the last five years received a top salary as a member of the autonomous Kurdish parliament. He was elected as a member of the dominant PUK party, which is also the party of the Iraqi president.
In this role he enjoys a whole range of privileges which are reserved for the upper political class, high-ranking officials and rich businessmen.
Ekstra Bladet learned that Talaat does not want to inform the Danish authorities about his income. According to Skat (Danish tax authorities), this is contrary to the rule that all income — including that from abroad — must be declared.
At the same time, his high salary means that his early retirement pension should be seriously reduced or eliminated completely.
In Iraq Talaat Sayfaddin lives in “The English Village” which consists of fashionable houses in a closed area. In the same part of Erbil is the luxurious Naz City, which is home to representatives of the Kurdish upper class.
23,000 kroner tax free
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One month’s rent in “The English Village” costs around 9,000 kroner, which is what an ordinary Iraqi citizen earns in a year. The autonomous Kurdish government pays this.
At the same time he receives at least 23,000 kroner tax free each month as salary from the parliament where he works as a senior member of PUK and as chairman for Board of Agriculture.
Bodyguards and chauffeurs
Along with that comes a range of fringe benefits. According to information obtained by Ekstra Bladet he has been granted a piece of land and 160,000 kroner to buy a car.
At the same time he has a fixed monthly grant to use for bodyguards and chauffeurs.
Friendly man in Tilst
Life in Iraq is a far cry from the life he enjoys when he resides in the worn-down concrete blocks in the Århus suburb of Tilst.
Here the neighbors describe him as a friendly man who stays home during the day.
They also say that he is often in Iraq but none of them had the slightest idea that the Iraqi from No. 7 is a powerful and very privileged man in Iraq, and that he has for years lived a secret double life.
An expert in social fraud and a worker from Skat confirmed yesterday to Ekstra Bladet that if you — as Talaat Sayfaddin — are registered as living in Denmark, your income from Iraq must be fully declared.
At the same time it is a matter of social fraud since you — as Talaat Sayfaddin — receive an early retirement pension and have not informed the municipality that you have a huge income on the side.
And now for the fact-article:
This is what a member of the Kurdish parliament is paid in Iraq:
- Salary: Between 23,000 and 27,000 kroner a month, tax free (around $4,600 and $5,520).
- Free housing: Worth between 96,000 and 120,000 kroner (around $19,200 and $24,000) a year in The English Village or Naz City.
- Pension: 80% of his salary for the rest of his life. The pension will be paid to his heirs when the politician dies.
- Car: 162,000 kroner (around $32,400) to buy a car.
- Bodyguards: Salary for three bodyguards who also act as chauffeurs.
- Land: Newly-elected MPs receives a parcel of land.
Next time I will translate an article about the third high-ranking Iraqi official being exposed by Ekstra Bladet as a simple criminal and fraudster. Her name is Samia Aziz Mohammad, and back in 2005 she was awarded the ruling party’s (Venstre) freedom prize. A prize true heroes like Ayaan Hirsi Ali have received before her.
A side note: if any of your international readers are interested, Kurt Westergaard will exhibit some of his works in Skanderborg from August 29 in Gallery Draupner. The best of them will be there. See this August 5 article from Politiken.