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Barber claimed cash through Covid scheme then sent it to fund ISIS, court hears

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A BARBER shop owner sent £25,000 to IS fighters in Syria after claiming thousands of pounds in Covid Bounce Back loans, a court heard.

Tarek Namouz, 43, is accused of sending at least seven payments between November 2020 and April 2021 to fund the terrorists.

Namouz had received grant relief from his local council — Hammersmith and Fulham in West London.

When police raided his Boss Crew Barbers shop in Olympia, West London, in May last year they found £3,000 cash and a hidden phone containing messages to a contact in Syria, an IS bomb-making video and footage showing how to kill with a knife. .

In the months before his arrest, he made seven transfers totaling £11,280 to a man named Yahya Ahmed Alia in Syria, where Namouz had lived until he was 14.

Kingston crown court heard that during a bugged conversation with a friend who was visiting him in prison, Namouz told him he had sent £25,000 to Syria.

The jury were told he sent cash to a former IS member who used it to buy sniper rifles and said he wanted to establish a base for 30 fighters.

Namouz said the £3,000 found by police was “from the government and from work money”.

Prosecutor John McGuinness KC told the jury: “He was in receipt of Covid loans and said he mixed the two together.”

Namouz denies funding IS and possessing terrorist videos.

The trial continues.

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