Charitable funds used to buy night vision equipment for convicted terrorist

28 Jul 2016 News

Fergus Burnett

The Charity Commission has removed a convicted terrorist as a trustee and transferred money he raised to two other charities, according to an inquiry report published today. 

Adeel Ul-Haq, 21, from Nottinghamshire was sentenced to five years for helping in the preparation of an act of terrorism and another year for funding terrorism, after being investigated by the North East Counter Terrorism Unit. 

Police had notified the Commission of the investigation and it opened a statutory inquiry in April 2015. The regulator published its inquiry report today and said that its actions had meant more than £4,000 donated by the public ended up with legitimate charities.

Ul-Haq had been asking for donations on Twitter, which were paid to himself or to another trustee. On opening the inquiry, the Commission took control of Ul-Haq’s account and later directed the second person to transfer the funds in their account to it. 

He had not been raising money on behalf of a registered charity, but the Commission used its powers to investigate because “the individual(s) who has control of those funds will hold the funds on trust and are responsible for applying those funds for the charitable aims set out in the appeal”.

The regulator’s investigation found that some of the money raised by the appeal and deposited in the PayPal account of the second trustee was spent on a laser pointer pen, leg wallet and night-vision telescope for Ul-Haq. 

Funds recovered by the Commission amounted to £4,195.26 and have been distributed to two registered aid charities which provide food parcels and hygiene kits. The Commission has also removed Ul-Huq as a trustee and banned him from acting as a trustee in the future without a waiver from the Commission. 

Michelle Russell, director of investigations, monitoring and enforcement at the Commission, said: “Our findings and conclusions illustrate the seriousness with which the commission takes the abuse of charities and charitable funds, particularly where there are concerns that these may be used for terrorist purposes, and that it will take action to protect and safeguard charitable funds and property whilst working collaboratively with the police and other partners where such concerns exist.”

Editor's note: This article has been amended to clarify that Ul-Haq was 'removed' not 'disqualified'

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