Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Quake Cash 'Used in Plot'; Huge Money Transfer Led to Discovery of Terror Plan

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Quake Cash 'Used in Plot'; Huge Money Transfer Led to Discovery of Terror Plan

Article excerpt

Byline: RICHARD EDWARDS

UP TO [pounds sterling]3 million of British charity money sent to Pakistan for earthquake relief may have ended up in the hands of the alleged airline bomb plotters.

A massive transfer of money last year caused alarm amongst intelligence officials - and led to the airline bomb plot being uncovered.

Intelligence sources claimed that more than half of a [pounds sterling]5 million transfer - donated to last year's Kashmir earthquake, which killed tens of thousands - was siphoned off by the terror suspects.

The Pakistani authorities have not identified the charity in question, but said the transaction took place last December - which is when anti-terror police put the British suspects under 24-hour surveillance.

"British intelligence smelled foul play the moment the transfer was made," said a Pakistani intelligence source involved in the investigation.

British detectives and MI5 are today in Pakistan to question two British suspects - including Rashid Rauf, who is described as a "key player" in the plot. In 2000 his father, Abdul Rauf, and uncle Mohammed Mumtaz, helped set up the Crescent Relief charity in east London, which is now under investigation by the Charity Commission.

The commission, said that it was treating the allegations as "an immediate priority".

The charity, currently run by Mr Mumtaz, has since sent hundreds of thousands of pounds to Pakistan for humanitarian purposes.

No evidence has been found that either Abdul Rauf or anyone else connected with Crescent Relief knew charitable funds were being diverted for any terrorist purpose.

Officials say they believe Rashid Rauf, who has lived in Pakistan for the last four years, helped distribute money and may have diverted some funds for his alleged terror plot.

US sources said he had recently wired large sums to London so his alleged co-conspirators could buy plane tickets. …

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