Counterfeit DVD Gang Funds Kashmiri Terrorists
21 December 2007
Srinagar: A SCOTTISH gang is bankrolling murderous terrorist attacks in Kashmir, raising hundreds of thousands of pounds each year through counterfeiting and mortgage fraud, Scotland on Sunday can reveal. MI5 sources say around 50 Scots Asians – most of them in Glasgow – are raising funds for Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), a Kashmiri separatist group responsible for hundreds of deaths and reportedly involved in the kidnap and murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl. Much of the cash raised in Scotland is sent first to Dubai, where it is laundered, and then passed to JeM terrorists operating in the Kashmir region, say security sources. It is estimated that up to £50,000 a month is raised in Scotland. As well as money from mortgage fraud, around £15,000 of this total is raised by selling counterfeit DVDs, CDs and clothing at market stalls and in pubs and clubs across Scotland. Last week, a British citizen and JeM suspect, Rashid Rauf, wanted in the UK for his alleged part in a plot to blow up 10 trans- Atlantic airliners last summer, escaped from custody in Pakistan. JeM militants have been waging a war for Kashmiri independence since the group was formed in 2001 by scholar Maulana Mazood Azhar. They have been a proscribed terror group in the UK for years. MI5 learned about the Glasgow fundraising operation from the Pakistani secret service, the ISI, which became aware of large amounts of money being paid into suspects' bank accounts. A security source told Scotland on Sunday: 'The Kashmiri problem is becoming an increasing headache for both the Pakistani and Indian governments, and they have been keeping a very close watch on those individuals who they believe are orchestrating the violence. It was from this surveillance work and analysis of their bank details that the alert was first raised about money coming in from the UK.' The Scottish-based organisers of the group have, so far, managed to keep a relatively low profile, making it hard for the authorities to act against them. But ever since the ISI tip-off a few months ago, security services have been urged by their bosses to turn up the heat on individuals they suspect are behind the scams. All of the Scots behind the fundraising are British- born but remain fiercely supportive of their roots. There are also hot-beds of support for Kashmiri militants in London and Birmingham, although a recent crackdown has had a severe impact on the activities of fundraisers. The security source added: 'The people involved in the mortgage frauds are only too aware that the banks and lenders are none too keen on prosecuting anyone caught up in this charade, as it will mean them having to answer a lot of awkward questions in court.' In a recent Law Society report, it issued a warning about the risks of mortgage fraud: 'The recent slowdown in the UK property market has exposed a rise in mortgage fraud by organised criminals and the potential vulnerability of professionals to be exploited by organised crime syndicates.'