‘Charity’ scam twins who raised cash to fund terrorist jailed

Identical twins who raised thousands of pounds for their brother while he was undergoing terrorism training in Somalia have been jailed for three years.

Transport for London employee Mohammed Shafiq Ali and father-of-three Mohammed Shabir Ali were described at the Old Bailey as being part of a “network of support” who sent money from England to the Horn of Africa.

The 25-year-olds from east London plotted to con people into donating cash by saying it was for charity, the Old Bailey heard. Instead, the money went to Mohammed Shamim Ali, 29, who was involved in a radical jihadist group.

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While police say they will never know the exact amount of money sent as the twins admitted the charge on the basis it was £3,000, sent to Somalia between August 2008 and June last year.

Sentencing them yesterday, Mr Justice Fulford said: “The courts must reflect the seriousness of offences of this kind in the sentences that are handed down, given that they were intended to support terrorism.”

Shafiq Ali’s heavily pregnant wife wept in the public gallery as her husband was sentenced. One of the twins looked up at his relatives with his hand on his heart as he was led away.

Mr Justice Fulford said: “The financial assistance took place at a time when both defendants suspected that their older brother was involved in terrorist training activities in Somalia.

“It is accepted by the prosecution that they sent funds primarily out of concern for their brother’s physical and mental health, although it is important to note this was in the context of his planned involvement in terrorism.”

In a family telephone call, recorded because the twins believed it may be the last time they spoke to him, their brother spoke of the need for people to “sacrifice life” for their cause.

He also told the twins he was being given automatic weapons training, including using Kalashnikovs.

Prosecutor Timothy Cray said: “The conversation recorded with the brother clearly shows that these defendants have been in contact with, and taking instruction from, someone they described as ‘brother Hamza’.”