Daily Management Review

£1m eBay Scam Leads to Arrest of Former Islamic Extremist


£1m eBay Scam Leads to Arrest of Former Islamic Extremist
Suspicion of forgery of more than £1million on eBay for the purpose of funding terrorism has resulted in the arrest of a man who had earlier claimed to be an al-Qaida insider. However, later that man had told security agencies that he had made it up.  
The modus-operandi of the forgery, orchestrated by Hassan Butt, 35, included the conning of thousands of customers by taking orders for iPhones, iPads and games consoles on the online auction site. He then never delivered the ‘sold’ items and ran away with the money.
As a former spokesperson for the extremist group al-Muhajiroun, Butt has claimed that he had helped Mohammad Sidique Khan, the ringleader of the 7 July 2005 attacks on London and scores of other Britons to terrorist training camps overseas.
He had seen the error of his ways and publicly spoke out against extremism Butt had said after the attacks on the capital. He was even invited to meet a government minister to discuss ways to combat terrorism and featured heavily in the media.
Telling the media what it wanted to hear, Butt had later claimed that he had lied about his jihadi past.
Mi Genie which sold electronic goods on eBay in the runup to Christmas 2014 had filed a complaint and Butt was arrested in Manchester in September in relation to that complaint. Mi Genie predominately sold knitwear since it had been on the sites since 2012. Hwoever the company began selling high-end devices including iPhones for £500 during the festive season.
Attempts to contact the company by the customers had proved futile after hundreds of customers complained that they had not received goods that they had paid for. The company’s eBay account was eventually shut down and police were contacted.
On the same day in nearby Bury, Lancashire, another man, believed to be Butt’s business partner was also arrested. Both men were bailed last week.
“Two men arrested on Wednesday 23 September 2015 by officers from the Metropolitan police’s counter terrorism command (SO15), supported by colleagues from Greater Manchester police, on suspicion of conspiracy to commit fraud appeared on police bail on 18 November and were further arrested on fraud offences,” a Metropolitan police spokesman said.
 “No customer was left out of pocket. We refunded every customer in full at the time of the event. We have dedicated in-house detection teams and alert systems in place to identify suspicious behaviour very quickly. Our teams share information with law enforcement agencies around the world to keep our marketplace safe for customers,” an eBay spokesman said.
The arrest and raid was part of a police plot to persecute his family, said Butts brother, Omer, 39, in a report published in The Mail.