LONDON: The eldest son of hate preacher Abu Hamza has been sentenced to almost four years in jail after being convicted of laundering £350,000 ($476,000) with a banking accomplice.
Tito ibn Sheikh, 35, set up fraudulent bank accounts with the corrupt HSBC employee between May 2018 and December 2019.
The eldest of Abu Hamza’s eight children, Ibn Sheikh set up fraudulent bank accounts using 14 fake identities, a London court heard.
Following in his father’s criminal footsteps, Ibn Sheikh had been jailed for 12 years in 2014 for leading a gang who kidnapped and tortured a man over a £15,000 debt. He was released from prison on license while he committed his financial fraud.
Judge Andrew Goymer said Ibn Sheikh had “used considerable skill, ingenuity and industry towards this fraudulent scheme.”
Ibn Sheikh was sentenced to three years and nine months behind bars after admitting two counts of conspiracy to convert criminal property, possession of an article for use in fraud, possession of fraudulent identity documents and possession of criminal property.
Abu Hamza, 63, was the notorious preacher and terror supporter at Finsbury Park Mosque in north London. He is jailed for life in the US after being convicted of terror offenses there and in Britain.
Arab News featured him in its “Preachers of Hate” series, outlining his connection with violent extremism.
Ibn Sheikh’s lawyer Bill Evans told the court that his client had changed names to distance himself from Abu Hamza.
“His father has a degree of notoriety, which has caused him substantial difficulty and he and other members of his family have changed their names as a result,” Evans said.
Southwark Crown Court was told that on the occasion of Ibn Sheikh’s arrest in December 2019, he was found in possession of 12 iPhones, 10 bank cards in various names and 14 different identity documents.
Prosecuting barrister Kelly Brocklehurst said Ibn Sheikh would set about creating identities around his documents through utility bills, national insurance cards and UK driving licenses.
The various mobile phones were used to ensure each fake identity had a means of being contacted.
Russell Tyner of the Crown Prosecution Service’s organized-crime division said: “Ibn Sheikh was perfectly willing to bank and move large amounts of stolen money. The number of passports and other ID showed he was more than just a neutral recipient of the cash. He was an active and willing participant in the conspiracy and he had the ability and means to create false accounts to launder cash.”