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Five in court over 'Syria fraud'

Five men have appeared in court in connection with fraud allegations linked to extremists travelling to Syria.

Makhzumi Abukar, 23, Sakaria Aden, 21, Mohamed Dahir, 22, Yasser Abukar, 23, and Ibrahim Anderson, 38, are all charged with conspiracy to defraud.

They appeared at London's Westminster Magistrates' Court where the court heard that they are thought to have targeted eight victims, defrauding them out of a total of around £400,000, between 15 February 2014 and 6 May 2015.

The court heard that the men were arrested as part of an investigation into a wide-scale conspiracy to commit a "vishing-type" fraud and associated money laundering.

The Met's National Terrorist Financial Investigation United believe the proceeds from the scam are being used to fund and facilitate the travel of people from the UK to Syria and Iraq to fight with Islamic State.

The men are accused of calling up "elderly, vulnerable" alleged victims, posing as police officers investigating financial crime, and eventually convincing them to withdraw cash and await the arrival of a courier, or transfer a sum into a holding account.

They were all arrested by the Metropolitan Police's Counter Terrorism Command after raids at seven addresses in London and one in Luton yesterday.

A sixth man, Mohammed Sharif Abokar, 27, from Islington, was charged with the same offence and was due in to appear at Dunstable Magistrates Court.

Makhzumi Abukar of Holloway, north London, Aden of Stoke Newington, Dahir of Finsbury Park, Yasser Abukar, from Holloway, and father-of-four Anderson, of Luton, Bedfordshire, are all due to next appear at the Old Bailey on May 21.

They were all remanded in custody.

Dressed in tracksuits, all the men sat in silence throughout the hearing, apart from ginger-bearded Anderson, who stood for the proceedings.

A 32-year-old woman arrested yesterday morning on suspicion of money laundering has been bailed.

Police said a 46-year-old woman was arrested at one of the addresses in north London on suspicion of an offence under section 2 of the Child Abduction Act 1984.

She was arrested in connection with an unrelated investigation over a young girl believed to have travelled to Turkey and has been bailed.


From Belfast Telegraph