A barber has been sentenced to 12 years in prison after sending thousands of pounds from taxpayer-funded coronavirus grants to the terrorist group Islamic State (IS) in Syria.
Tarek Namouz, 43, told an associate he had transferred up to £25,000 to an IS fighter after discussing purchasing bombs, Kalashnikov rifles and other firearms as part of a plot to attack the Syrian government, the court heard.
At Kingston crown court on Thursday, 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”.
Lodder said Namouz sent money paid to him by the local council to terrorists in Syria via a currency exchange in west London.
Namouz was found guilty last month of eight counts of entering into a funding arrangement for terrorism between November 2020 and May 2021.
The offences took place just months after Namouz was released on licence after serving half of a 10-year sentence for rape. The former pub landlord trapped an 18-year-old inside the Prince public house in Wood Green, north London, before raping her in an attack in September 2014.
He is believed to have been released in September 2019. Shortly afterwards, he founded Boss Crew Barbers in west London, which received Covid-19 grants from Hammersmith and Fulham council.
Police identified transfers totalling about £11,280 to people in Syria. Namouz denied knowing the money would be used for terrorism, telling police he sent the funds to “help … the poor and needy in Syria”.
He was arrested after the execution of a search warrant at his home and business address in May 2021. Analysis of one of Namouz’s phones showed he was in regular WhatsApp contact with people in Syria, and they discussed buying a building for “storing weapons”, such as Kalashnikovs, heavy machine guns and explosives, and occupying it with IS fighters.
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.
Namouz was previously sentenced to 30 months in prison, suspended for two years, in July 2013 after being convicted of selling more than £40,000 of counterfeit clothing.
Wood Green crown court heard he was selling fake Armani, Chanel, Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Playboy and Versace goods from a shop in Edmonton Green, north London.