A British student caught at Heathrow Airport with the equivalant of £16,000 stuffed in her knickers, was allegedly taking the money to Turkey to help support the extreme jihadist cause in neighbouring Syria, a jury heard.
Nawal Msaad, of north London and her long term friend, Amal El-Wahabi, of north west London are both on trial at the Old Bailey with terrorism charges.
Msaad supposedly played an active role as a ‘trusted courier’ for the husband of El-Wahabi, who had left the UK to pursue his life as an extreme jihadist fighter, the court heard on Tuesday.
Prosecutor Mark Dennis said: “She was found to be carrying 20,000 euros in large domination notes which she was intending to smuggle into Turkey.
“Her recruiter was the first defendant (El-Wahabi) a close and long standing friend.
“The smuggling attempt, however, had been instigated by the first defendant’s husband, Aine Davis, who, it is alleged, had left London a few months earlier in order to pursue a jihadist cause in which he now believed.”
The jury were told that El-Wahabi and her husband stayed in contact while he was in Turkey using messaging services on the internet and their mobile phones.
Mr Dennis said: “It is plain from the images that he had sent to her that Davis had fulfilled his desire and was now with jihadist fighters and was supporting the familiar black flag adopted by the extremist jihadist terrorist groups in various countries in that troubled part other world.”
Msaad, who is currently studying human resources at the London Metropolitan University in east London, was arrested at Heathrow Airport after being stopped and searched by police officers while trying to board a flight to Istanbul on Thursday January 16.
Mr Dennis said: “It is unclear where Davis is at the present time, however, the overwhelming inference to be drawn from the available evidence is that at the time of this attempted smuggling of money.
“He was taking part in the violent conflict which has engulfed large parts of Syria for the past three years.
“The allegation in this case is that each defendant, when becoming concerned in the arranging of the smuggling of this money to Turkey at the behest of Davis, knew or, at the very lease, had reasonable cause to suspect that the money was or might be used for the purposes of terrorism.”
The court heard that Msaad travelled by Tube to the airport and was eventually stopped at the departure gate.
She was asked by officers why she was travelling to Istanbul and she replied saying she was going on ‘short break and to buy some gold for her mother’, when asked how much money she was carrying, she responded saying ‘20,000 euros’ and that it was ‘around her’.
When El-Wahabi was arrested at her home address, her phone rang and officers noticed the incoming call showed the international dialling code for Turkey.
Mr Dennis said: “That time period coincided with the time when whoever was waiting to meet the Msaad, or to hear from her, upon her arrival at Istanbul Airport would have realised that she had not been on the flight from London.
“It was no doubt Davis, or someone on his behalf, trying to find out what had gone wrong.”
Text messages sent between El-Wahabi, Msaad and Davis that demonstrated the organisation of the smuggling were read out in court for the benefit of the jury.
Both the British girls are accused of “between 13 and 16 January 2014 within the jurisdiction of the Central Criminal Court jointly entering into or became concerned in an arrangement as a result of which money was made available or was to be made available to another, and they knew or had reasonable cause to suspect that it would or may be used for the purposes of terrorism”.
The trial continues.