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Former pub landlord accused of using coronavirus ‘bounceback’ loans to fund ISIS, UK court told

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File photo of ISIS fighters.
File photo of ISIS fighters.
  • A former pub landlord is accused of claiming Covid "bounceback" loans to send to ISIS.
  • Tarek Namouz, 42, appeared at the Old Bailey facing eight charges of funding a terror organisation.
  • He is alleged to have sent thousands of pounds in taxpayer-funded loans to ISIS in Syria.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

A former pub landlord is accused of sending thousands of pounds from British taxpayer-backed coronavirus "bounceback" loans to ISIS in Syria, a UK court has heard.

Tarek Namouz, 42, faces eight charges of entering into a terror funding arrangement, and two counts of possessing terrorist information relating to videos, The Guardian reported.

Namouz is alleged to have funded the terror group between November 2020 and May 2021. A prosecution barrister told the court that Namouz had sent "the proceeds of coronavirus bounceback funding loans to Isis".

The "bounceback" loan scheme was launched in May 2020, early into the UK's coronavirus lockdown, with commercial banks providing loans to businesses, with the loans backed and guaranteed by the government.

A defence barrister said Namouz "intends matters should be contested" at trial. He has not yet entered any pleas, but is due to enter a plea in July ahead of a possible trial in November.

An investigation by The Times found that suitcases of cash suspected to have come from bounceback loans were seized at the border as people tried to smuggle it out of the country.

The UK government spent £47 billion on bounceback loans, with as much as £17 billion expected to never be paid back, and an "eye-watering" £4.9 billion suspected to be lost to fraud, according to a report by MPs.

One bounceback loan of £50,000 is suspected to have been used by a gambler to fund poker games, The Times found.

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