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Syrian ‘Toy Smuggler’ jailed for donation fraud

HELSINKI: A Helsinki court on Wednesday found a Finnish-Syrian man who won global media fame for distributing toys to orphans in Syria guilty of money laundering and fraud.

Rami Adham, dubbed the “Toy Smuggler” for his campaign to collect money for orphans in the war-ravaged town of Aleppo, was sentenced to 10 months in prison for misdirecting charitable funds, and collecting over €300,000 ($342,000) in donations without the correct permits.

The district court found that funds raised while Adham was chair of the Finnish-Syrian Association did not all go directly to help people in Syria, as claimed.

Instead, €62,000 was spent on a cabin in a garden allotment. The court rejected Adham’s explanation that the money came from his uncle in a Gulf country.

“It is also a clear fact that the purchase in question was not paid for out of personal funds,” the written judgment said.

The judge declared that Adham’s three previous convictions meant a prison sentence was necessary. Finnish media has reported his prior convictions include tax fraud, drug offenses and assault.

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