UK & World News
Public 'Duped Into Funding Terror Bomb Plot'
Members of the public were duped into donating thousands of pounds to fund a massive terror attack planned for Britain, a court heard.
Three men on trial for terror-related offences posed as collectors from the Muslim Aid charity and raked in donations through street collections and door-to-door pleas in Birmingham and Leicester last year, a jury at Woolwich Crown Court was told.
Irfan Naseer, 31, Irfan Khalid and Ashik Ali, both 27, allegedly only gave a fraction of the Ramadan collection to the charity, keeping most of it to finance their bomb plot.
Notes found by police suggested they collected £12,100 but the court was told they also lost £9,149.39 by using it to trade in foreign currency over four weeks.
The court previously heard that the men, two of whom are alleged to have received terror training in Pakistan, planned to detonate up to eight rucksack bombs in a suicide attack that would have been bigger than the July 7 bombings in London.
The jury heard that Ali registered two accounts on eBay's online charity website "half in jest" in September 2006 with the user names "terrorshop" and "shopterror", using the email address email@example.com.
One of the accounts was closed down by eBay in October 2006 while the second is active but has never been used, the prosecution said.
Brian Altman QC, prosecuting, said: "However, both reveal his mindset even then, even if the usernames he chose were registered half in jest."
He said the men wore MA t-shirts and tabards to "beguile the public into believing this was legitimate charity collecting, when it wasn't".
"That money was stolen and ... was not intended by the defendants to be used for any other legitimate purpose other than terrorism," he said.
Mr Altman said the collections took place soon after Naseer and Khalid returned from terror training in the Taliban and al Qaeda stronghold of Waziristan in Pakistan at the end of July last year.
The charity had a licence for a single day's collecting, and it received £1,584 from the group at the end of August, the court heard, a fairly typical amount for a day's collection.
In reality, the prosecution claimed, they illegally collected cash over a sustained period, posing as Muslim Aid volunteers without its knowledge.
All the men are accused of engaging in conduct in preparation of terrorist acts, which they deny.
Naseer is accused of five counts of the offence, Khalid four and Ali three, all between Christmas Day 2010 and September 19 last year.