Man found guilty of using Bitcoin to support terror group

A man who used Bitcoin to help fund the so-called Islamic State terror group has been convicted of seven offences under the Terrorism Act.

Hisham Chaudhary, 28, from Leicestershire, was found guilty of being a member of the proscribed organisation after a month-long trial at Birmingham Crown Court.

Jurors also returned guilty verdicts on four counts of disseminating terrorist publications, and two of entering a funding arrangement contrary to anti-terror laws.

In a statement issued after the verdicts, Counter Terrorism Policing North East (CTPNE) said Chaudhary, of Chestnut Drive, Oadby, was arrested in November 2019 after an investigation supported by Counter Terrorism Policing East Midlands and Leicestershire Police.

Child sex offences court case
Birmingham Crown Court, where Hisham Chaudhary was found guilty (Joe Giddens/PA)

CTPNE said detectives uncovered considerable evidence to demonstrate Chaudhary was a “trusted and active member of the banned terrorist group, one that not only subscribed to their ideology, but also immersed himself in supporting their activities and creating and spreading propaganda on their behalf”.

Operating largely online, the defendant was able to promote violent jihad from the UK, providing safe communication networks for like-minded individuals, the court heard.

He also sourced money to assist other members, police said.

The trial was told Chaudhary created videos to spread the ideology of IS, also known as Daesh, even seeking assistance to prevent them from being deleted or taken down.

Financial investigators also revealed Chaudhary had deliberately developed his understanding and use of Bitcoin to receive and transfer thousands of pounds, paying smugglers to liberate IS supporters from detention camps in Syria.

Commenting on the inquiry, Detective Chief Superintendent Martin Snowden, the head of Counter Terrorism Policing North East, said: “From the comfort of his home in the UK, Hisham Chaudhary took an active role in promoting, supporting and funding terrorism.

“It is evident he was a valued member of Daesh, one who had consistently demonstrated his allegiance through his actions.

“Proscribed organisations present a very real risk to our security, to the safety of communities both in the UK and overseas. Anyone demonstrating support for such a group, in any form, will be prosecuted without exception.

“Despite the weight of the evidence against him, Hisham Chaudhary has tried to present himself as a humanitarian. He is in fact a terrorist and has been recognised as such by the jury today.”

Chaudhary has been remanded in custody for sentencing on September 3.