A barber who sent thousands of pounds of Covid-19 bounce back loans to so-called Islamic State terrorists in Syria has been jailed for 12 years.
Tarek Namouz, 43, thanked the judge but shouted “May Allah destroy you” at police officers after he was sentenced at Kingston Crown Court on Thursday.
The court heard he ran a barber’s shop in west London and received coronavirus relief grants from Hammersmith and Fulham Council during the pandemic.
Namouz sent the funds via a money transfer bureau between November 2020 and May 2021 to organise terror attacks in Syria.
He was arrested on May 25 2021 and recalled to prison to serve the rest of a 10-year sentence for raping an 18-year-old woman in The Prince pub, in Wood Green, where he was the landlord in 2014. He had been released in September 2019 on licence.
Police identified transfers totalling about £11,280 but Namouz boasted to a friend during a prison visit he had sent £25,000 to Yahya Ahmed Alia, who he described as an “ex-fighter with Islamic State” who could buy sniper rifles for £2,500.
Another £3,000 believed to have been earmarked for the same purpose was found in his bedroom drawer in the flat above his shop, Boss Crew Barbers, in Blythe Road, Hammersmith.
Namouz denied knowing the money would be used for terrorism, telling police he sent the funds to “help… the poor and needy in Syria”.
But he was found guilty of eight counts of entering into a funding arrangement for terrorism between November 2020 and May 2021 last month following a trial.
He was also convicted of two counts of possessing terrorist information after videos, including details of how to make an improvised explosive device with ball bearings and using knives to carry out a lone wolf attack, were found on his mobile phone.
Judge Peter Lodder KC jailed Namouz for 12 years, with a further year on extended licence, saying he had demonstrated a “commitment to terrorism” and planned to “re-establish a state run in accordance with extreme Islamic principles”.
“In 2020 and 2021 you ran a barber’s shop in Hammersmith,” he said. “You were entitled to Covid bounce back loans which were paid to you by the local council.
“You sent that money, and other money, through a west London transfer and currency exchange, to terrorists in Syria.”
Namouz interrupted the judge from the dock, claiming “I never sent that money” but said: “Thank you, your honour” after he was sentenced.
However, in a further courtroom outburst before he was taken down to the cells, he turned to police officers sitting in court and said: “May Allah destroy you. We will meet on judgment day. You’re a kafir (non-believer) and you will end up in hell.”
Prosecutor John McGuinness KC earlier told jurors both Namouz and Alia were “committed to the Islamic extremist culture”, “fervently supported the culture of IS” and were “committed to the cause of terrorism”.
Analysis of one of Namouz’s phones showed they were in regular WhatsApp contact and talked about buying a building for “storing weapons”, such as Kalashnikovs, heavy machine guns and explosives, and occupying it with “IS fighters”.
In one message, Namouz said: “I shall supply the funds … and you deal with the required purchases including buying weapons and planning on the ground, making war plans and providing equipment.”
Files downloaded from the Telegram app on Namouz’s phone contained IS propaganda and instructions for preparing explosive substances, creating improvised explosive devices and combat tactics.
One video showed an IS fighter demonstrating assassination techniques using a knife.
Tyrone Smith KC, defending, said Namouz was a “man of modest means”, with a “legitimate” income through his barber’s shop.
“He had in that relevant period some assistance from the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham due to Covid conditions,” he said. “He was handing over money he had, for the best part, earned or was entitled to.”