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Russian ex-minister jailed for bribery released on parole

LONDON: The eldest son of Egyptian hate preacher Abu Hamza, the notorious former imam of London’s Finsbury Park Mosque, has been ordered to return £5,200 ($6,400) of illegal gains earned during a money laundering scheme that netted a group of fraudsters almost £350,000.

Tito Ibn-Sheikh is one of eight of Hamza’s children. His father was featured in Arab News’ “Preachers of Hate” series.

Between 2018 and 2019, after being released from prison for a previous crime, Ibn-Sheikh worked with an HSBC bank employee to forge false identities, and launder money gained from theft and fraud, a UK court has heard.

In January this year, the 35-year-old was jailed for three years and nine months.

Appearing in court via video call on May 11, Ibn-Sheikh said that he earned about £180,000 from the scheme, but that his realizable assets amount to about £5,200, which he was ordered to pay back under the UK’s Proceeds of Crime Act.

Judge Adam Hiddleston said: “I will make the order for the confiscation of the available amount, ceased as part of an application under the Proceeds of Crime Act. There is also a serious crime prevention order to be imposed.

“These restrictions in relation to communication devices and other terms will last from five years after the date of which you are released from prison. If you breach any of the terms of the order, that is a separate offense for which you may be punished.

“These are obviously serious matters,” Hiddleston added.

Ibn-Sheikh’s 64-year-old father is serving life without the possibility of parole in a US maximum security prison after being found guilty of terror offenses in both the UK and US.

Last year, Yasser Kamel, 31, another of Hamza’s sons, was jailed for four years after authorities discovered an illegal drug cache worth about £30,000 in his home.

Ibn-Sheikh was jailed for 12 years in 2014 for kidnapping and torturing a man over a small debt.

Russell Tyner, of the CPS Organized Crime Division, said: “Ibn-Sheikh was perfectly willing to bank and move large amounts of stolen money. The number of passports and other ID showed he was more than just a neutral recipient of the cash.

“He was an active and willing participant in the conspiracy, and he had the ability and means to create false accounts to launder cash.”

Tyner added: “His guilty plea shows the strength of the case against him. These are not victimless crimes and wherever possible the CPS will work with our law enforcement partners to bring money laundering cases before a court and any ill-gotten gains recovered.”

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