Former pub landlord used Covid bounceback grant to fund ISIS, court heard

An ex-pub landlord used Covid-19 bounceback loans to fund ISIS in Syria, a court heard.

Tarek Namouz, 42, faces eight charges of entering into a terror funding arrangement between November 2020 and May 2021.

Namouz, who appeared at the Old Bailey by video link from Wandsworth jail yesterday, is also accused of two counts of possessing terrorist information relating to videos.

The defendant, who spoke only to confirm his identity, was remanded into custody until his next appearance.

He has not yet entered any pleas.

Prosecutor Jonathan Polnay told the court it is alleged the defendant sent "the proceeds of coronavirus bounce back funding loans to ISIS".

Mr Justice Sweeney said it was a "serious case" which would be heard by Judge Peter Lodder, the Recorder of Richmond sitting at Kingston Crown Court.

A plea and case management hearing was set for July 22, with a provisional two-week trial from November 21.

The bounceback loans, which were fully guaranteed by the Government, were intended to compensate firms for reduced trade during the Covid lockdowns.

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Bosses could apply for up to £50,000 or 25% of annual turnover.

Banks were ordered to ease the usual checks. Many borrowers self-certified financial status.

Around 1.5million firms obtained loans of up to £50,000 or a quarter of annual turnover, the vast majority of them small businesses.

The Islamic State, at times known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and also referred to by its Arabic-language acronym Daesh, is an Islamist militant jihadist group founded by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in 1999.

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