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Turku stabbing hero admits to benefits fraud

Hassan Zubier, who has been wheelchair-bound since intervening in the Turku knife attack, says he faked work history when applying for state disability pension.

Hassan Zubier
Hassan Zubier says he is prepared to suffer the consequences of his actions. Image: Nella Nuora / Yle
Yle News

Hassan Zubier, a British citizen whose spinal cord was severed in the Turku knife attack, has admitted to prosecutors that he attached forged documentation to his benefits application to the Finnish state.

Zubier says he misrepresented his work history when applying for damages from the state. He says his documentation on lost earnings from an ambulance company in Sweden was forged.

The misrepresentation came to light when Finland’s State Treasury started looking into his application for damages, Ari Huhtamäki, Zubier’s legal representative, told Finnish news agency STT.

"Acted out of financial desperation"

The State Treasury found that Zubier had not worked at the ambulance company during the dates he specified and, moreover, that the signee on the documentation provided by Zubier was not a company employee. Huhtamäki says Zubier acted out of financial desperation and that he’s prepared to suffer the consequences.

Turku district court had earlier deemed that Zubier was entitled to a monthly stipend of thousand euros until he turns 65—which would have amounted to twenty years of payments.

Last week, on the one year anniversary of the Turku knife attack, Zubier told Yle News that he hoped to carve out a new career as a professional speaker since he can no longer work as a paramedic.

Awards but no work

Following the attack, Zubier was recognised with a life saving medal for his heroic acts in Turku. He is the first foreigner to have received the Finnish award. Britain’s Queen Elizabeth also bestowed the George Medal for acts of bravery on Hassan Zubier last month.

Hassan Zubier, a British national resident in Sweden, was on holiday in Turku when he was repeatedly stabbed when trying to help one of the first victims of knife-wielding attacker Abderrahman Bouanane. His intervention exposed him to the attacker and he suffered a severed spinal cord. The assailant was given a life sentence in June for killing two people and wounding eight others.

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