Self-styled ‘Father of Terrorism’ from Cardiff jailed over Bitcoin trading on dark web

Estimated read time 4 min read

Self-styled ‘Father of Terrorism’ from Cardiff jailed over Bitcoin trading on dark web


Khuram Iqbal

He previously called himself ‘father of terrorism’ and stored copies of Al-Qaeda’s Inspire magazine

A convicted terrorist from Cardiff has been jailed again over secret cryptocurrency trading on the dark web.

Khuram Iqbal was first imprisoned in 2014 for having copies of Al-Qaeda’s Inspire magazine and sharing terrorist information. Going by the Arabic term for “father of terrorism”, he made 848 posts about violent jihad on Facebook and Twitter.

Iqbal, of Kings Road in Canton, was sentenced to three years and three months in jail. He was released on licence in 2015 but recalled to prison the following year.

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And the 29-year-old has gone on to breach a 10-year court order by failing to tell police about two email addresses and two cryptocurrency accounts, PA reports.

The dark web is the part of the internet which is only accessible with special software, allowing users to remain untraceable. Cryptocurrency refers to payments made online without any centralised authority.

Iqbal pleaded guilty to four breaches between July 2019 and August this year. He appeared at London’s Old Bailey last Tuesday to be sentenced by Mr Justice Nigel Sweeney.

The court heard Iqbal traded in cryptocurrency on the Coinbase platform. There were 392 transactions with nearly £12,000 deposited. He made three Bitcoin transactions on a part of the dark web used for selling stolen credit card credentials.

Coinbase issued a suspicious activity report prompting the police investigation. In August police searched the defendant’s home in Kings Road and seized his mobile.

Analysis revealed cryptocurrency apps as well as the Tor Browser enabling access to the dark web. In police interview, Iqbal said he dealt in cryptocurrency but denied using the dark web.

Nathan Rasiah, defending, argued for a community order rather than jail, but added: “We do accept that the nature of a cryptocurrency account is such that it can be considered more serious than, for example, non-disclosure of an established bank account.”

Mr Justice Sweeney rejected the defence’s claim that the breaches were not deliberate and that there was no significance in the dark web site. He handed Iqbal 16 months in prison with a further year on extended licence.

The judge told the defendant: “The very nature of cryptocurrency is that it is untraceable and in the end with both your emails and cryptocurrency accounts below the surface, you were able to conduct in numerical terms a considerable amount of trading in cryptocurrency under the radar… where that should not have been the case.”

Speaking after the hearing, Wales counter-terrorism Detective Supt Jim Hall said: “Iqbal breached an order made under Section 4 of the Terrorism Act and had little option but to enter a guilty plea such was the strength of the evidence against him.

“We will continue to deal robustly with those who persistently break the law and pose a threat to our communities. I appeal to anyone who may believe someone they know is vulnerable to radicalisers to contact the police or other agencies who can then provide the necessary support.

“The sooner we can intervene, the better chance we have of preventing people from becoming embroiled in extremism and facing potential prosecution. With the terrorism threat level recently being increased to ‘severe’, I want to remind the public of the need to remain vigilant and if they do see or hear anything suspicious, then please get in touch and report it to us.”

If you see or hear anything suspicious or of concern related to terrorism, then it can be reported to police, in confidence, via 0800 789 321 or online at www.gov.uk/ACT.


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