tv BBC Wales Investigates BBC News July 21, 2018 2:30pm-3:00pm BST
the coast of cornwall. now on bbc news, we'll hear why a man from cardiff was at the centre of a terrorism network which sent money to isis supporters across the globe. wyre davies travels thousands of miles following the money trail in the special programme, welsh web of terror. siful sujan was a hard—working, unassuming entrepreneur. an established part of the bangladeshi community in south wales, he'd studied here and set up his own businesses. he lived on this street, near pontypridd, with his wife and their young son. he ran an it business and appeared to be doing well.
but what no—one in this south wales community appeared to realise was that siful sujan was a supporter of the so—called islamic state. he helped develop weapon systems for isis and financed some of their terror activities. his influence was widespread. using the internet and money from his welsh company, he was able to communicate and conspire with isis supporters across the world. american officials were so concerned by siful sujan, a man they'd identified as a senior islamic state operative, they killed him in an air strike in syria at the end of 2015. sujan was an external operations planner, who was educated as a computer systems engineer in the united kingdom. he supported isil‘s hacking efforts, their anti—surveillance technology and their weapons development.
now that he's dead, isil has lost a key link between their networks. but that's not the end of the story. sujan's influence continues to be felt around the world. he's been linked to is militants and operations in bangladesh, spain and wales. sujan enrolled at the former glamorgan university in 2007 to study for a degree in computer engineering. prior to that, it's believed he'd lived in london before putting down roots in the pontypridd area. the house was a three—bedroom townhouse with a garage. rob rees met him several times in 2005, after sujan said he wanted to buy his house in rhydyfelin.
he eventually moved in, in november of that year. i mean, he explained that he'd met his wife at his brother's wedding, and two brothers married two sisters, how much he was in love with his wife and how much she loved the look of the house on the photograph, she couldn't wait to come to the uk. how did he come across to you? was he quite friendly? he was. the sort of person you want to put your arm around and take underyourwing. that's what we did a little bit, my wife and myself. we sort of felt sorry for him, almost straight away. sujan's business enterprises appeared to take off. his brother, ataul haque, had also come to the uk and was also involved in helping to run his expanding business empire. he ran his first business,
it company ibacs ltd, from his home near pontypridd. but then he moved to offices here in the roath area of cardiff. he became an accepted member of the bangladeshi community, and those who came across him thought he'd go far. we can't be sure what turned siful sujan, a relatively quiet but driven businessman, into a supporter of so—called islamic state. several people who knew him have told us that he was profoundly affected by the death of his brother's first wife. but whether this was the trigger for his radicalisation, we simply don't know, and we may never know. after 11 years in the uk, and mostly in south wales, sujan left the country in 2014. but his welsh businesses remained. his brother, ataul haque, would end up in spain. sujan told people who knew him
that he was going to bangladesh to set up a fabric business. after a brief time there, it's believed he then travelled to turkey, before entering syria and joining up with isis. but his influence also spread to the eastern united states. one of sujan's companies based in cardiff was found to have sent money to a man living in the city of baltimore. newspaper delivery man mohammed elshinawy lived in this working—class suburb just outside baltimore. he didn't know that by the summer of 2015, he was under fbi surveillance. and when they used a warrant to search his house in october
of that year, they found evidence that linked him to siful sujan and his company in south wales. the fbi investigation found that sujan's welsh company was sending money to their man in america, mohammed elshinawy, to fund a terrorist attack in the united states. it was relatively small quantities. you're talking about $1,000, $500 here and there, transferred through moneyg ram, western union. terrorism academic seamus hughes has followed the case of elshinawy for more than a year. in total, the fbi says elshinawy was sent $7,700 by sujan's welsh company. and not only was he being sent funds for a terrorist attack, he was being given step—by—step instructions by isis on how to carry it out.
so, you have these individuals that are directing elshinawy so the first communication was — go kill an individual in texas. and when elshinawy wasn't able to get that altogether, they'd said, ok, well, why don't you transfer and focus your efforts on committing a large—scale attack in baltimore? elshinawy discussed a bombing campaign that, in his words, "would kill a lot of people." and he researched severalfederal buildings here in baltimore, including this united states courthouse. it's believed siful sujan sent elshinawy at least 16 bomb—making videos, with a request that he make a peroxide bomb. sirens blare this kind of bomb has been used repeatedly by terrorists. it's thought to have been used in last year's attack on the manchester arena, as well as terror atrocities in both paris and brussels. after an investigation lasting more
than two years and after admitting a number of terrorism charges, elshinawy was finally jailed for 20 years. judge ellen hollander said he'd been playing with a very sophisticated group of people. this is very unique. this is using shell companies. it's sending money across a number of different countries. it's the only known isis—funded plot in the us. i think the fbi, as they're building this case, are unpeeling that onion and realising they have a really serious network here that i don't think we had a full understanding of when we first started. it was while executing a search warrant at elshinawy‘s home that fbi agents came across the link to siful sujan and his welsh company. in a desk drawer, they found a handwritten note, and on the note were details of a moneygram transfer forjust over £1,000, but it was the sender's name that led fbi investigators to wales.
the person who'd tried to send money to the states was a businessman from newport, abdul samad. he describes himself as a young entrepreneur who also enjoys basketball and arabic studies. crucially, mr samad worked at a company run by siful sujan and his brother, ataul haque. 0n the same day in december 2015 that siful sujan was killed in an american air strike, police in wales arrested abdul samad on suspicion of terrorism offences. his home here in newport was searched along with the company offices in cardiff. during the court case in america, the fbi claims it found evidence that samad supported the so—called islamic state and facilitated payments to isis supporter
elshinawy in the usa. they also claim he was involved in organising the buying of equipment for isis. these papers outline samad's role in buying various pieces of equipment that the fbi alleges were destined for the islamic state. they include parts for aerial drones and $18,000 worth of military grade surveillance equipment. we wanted to check if there was evidence to back the fbi's claim that samad supported the ideology of the islamic state. on his facebook site, we found a number of posts that would appear to give credence to the claim that abdul samad supported islamic extremism. he shared this video, in which various speakers make the case for islamic state. how much more?
how much can you take? how much can you fill your heart? with how much pollution? he also posted this video, which is encouraging muslims to become martyrs on the battlefield. and in this video, there's a tribute to a high—ranking al-qaeda member who samad describes as a role model for the 21st century. the fbi also says that some of samad's computers and other hard drives in the ibacs office were found to contain a large quantity of islamic state and al-qaeda propaganda. 15 months after his arrest, counterterrorism police told samad the threshold had not been met him to be charged with any offences. he has denied any wrongdoing or holding radical views, having any knowledge of a plot to fund attacks in the usa, and he claims to have only ordered legitimate equipment for the company. since then, we've discovered that samad has had relatively recent
links to ataul haque, who, as well as being sujan's brother and business partner, would also become a terrorism suspect. just last september, samad set up a new company in newport. it's called isynctel — the same name as a spanish company run by haque. and it's notjust the company name they share — the two sole shareholders of the new welsh firm are haque and his wife. haque is now under investigation by police in spain. i've come to merida, some 200 miles south—west of madrid. it was here last september that detectives closed in on one of the last key players in the suspected terror network that spanned three continents.
officers from the national police force's investigation unit made their move, arresting ataul haque after an 18—month operation. the police inspector investigating haque agreed to speak to me about the case for the first time on condition of anonymity due to the nature of his work. haque had lived in south wales for a number of years at the same time as his brother, siful sujan. but when sujan went to syria to join the so—called islamic state, haque ended up here with his spanish wife.
he rings buzzer he speaks spanish neighbours i spoke to here remembered the large police operation last september, but very few people knew haque or his family, and they say haque hardly ever left his flat. the spanish police case against haque is that he effectively carried on his brother's terrorism network. using the new company isynctel, it's alleged that haque continued to fund isis terrorists. spanish police say haque had also been following isis instructions on how to obtain and adapt drone equipment — a technique many fear could be used in domestic terrorist attacks. at the mercy of isis,
there are 750,000 people still trapped inside mosul. i reported on the threat from drones last year when they were being used by isis in iraq. even today, after the collapse of so—called islamic state in iraq and syria, the threat from drones just like these is very real. available in shops and online, they can relatively easily be adapted for military purposes, and the likelihood of is militants
continuing to use them is being taken very seriously. we'll see more use of drones by terrorists, not because isis lost control in iraq or syria, but because the technology's becoming more commonplace. peter singer is an american strategist who's advised the us government on defence policy. isis took drones and applied them to three related tasks. they used them for surveillance. the second thing is they linked it back to their propaganda campaigns, so they would capture footage of themselves carrying out a suicide car bomb or something like that. and then the third thing is they began to weaponise these drones. initially pretty crude weapons, small bombs, and then they began to design them to be a little bit better and better. man sings in arabic
just last month, pro—isis supporters released a video which promoted attacking the world cup in russia. the network set—up by sujan appears to have left a lasting legacy, with his brother, ataul haque, being investigated for helping isis‘s drone programme. do you regard him as a highly dangerous individual? haque is now injail in madrid, and is expected to be charged later this year. he denies any wrongdoing or being involved in the terror network. 0n the same day that haque
was detained, police in bangladesh arrested 11 men suspected of having links to the same terror network. it's believed the dhaka—based cell could have been responsible for a number of terror attacks in the country. in bangladesh, the authorities are reluctant to talk about islamist terrorism and the existence in the country of so—called islamic state, so i've come to sweden to meet an exiled bangladeshi journalist who's been covering the story of siful sujan for many years. after i was released, i could not live in the country... tasneem khalil fled to malmo 11 years ago after he was tortured by the authorities in bangladesh, he says, after writing reports criticising them.
from exile, tasneem now writes extensively about terrorism in bangladesh. siful sujan was the architect, or he was one of the key architects, of the global money—moving operation of isis, and we are actually talking about big sums of money. in bangladesh, you will know that he was the instrumental in setting up the first phase of isis operations, which was recruitment of young men to the battlefields of syria. sujan was even accused of radicalising his children's private tutor. sujan actually converted him, and, yeah, sort of recruited him into becoming an influentialfigure in isis in bangladesh. how manyjihadis did they recruit between them? you know, like a safe estimate would be at least 50. as well as recruiting jihadis,
often through a page on facebook, cardiff businessman sujan was also suspected of funding terrorist operations in bangladesh to the tune of tens of thousands of pounds. there were several operations that were carried out, murders, inside bangladesh that could have been funded by sujan's money. there were a number of operations in the second half of 2015 which bangladeshi intelligence agencies believed that were funded by sujan's money. money from the network established by sujan is also suspected of funding bangladesh's worst terror attack in recent years. injuly 2016, 2a people were killed when a cafe in dhaka was targeted by terrorists armed with bombs and guns. even after his death he remained very influential. there is a very high likelihood that
some of sujan's money was used in those attacks also, or at least what was very clear is that the network he set up was being used for financing attacks even after his death. his main role was moving money, which, at times, it sounds very boring but that is like the core of anyjihadi terrorist operation, and sujan was the money manager for that cell. police in bangladesh have declined to comment on terrorist attacks in the country. fighting the funds behind terrorism has become a priority for law enforcement agencies across the world. finance and communications are the two biggest vulnerabilities for terrorists. dennis lormel set—up the fbi's terrorist financing section after the 9/11 attacks.
he's not surprised the us military chose to kill sujan with a drone strike. being a financier, especially somebody who moves a lot of money, is an important target. if you can move dollars and you can get dollars into the hands of people who are going to use that money for illicit activity and to build bombs or to carry out attacks, it is incredibly dangerous. and the more we can do to disrupt the flow of funds, the less likely they are going to be able to have successful attacks. newport businessman abdul samad was one of those accused by the fbi of being involved in moving funds for terrorism. we asked him to take part in our programme but he declined, saying everything we wanted to know was online. but there were a number of serious allegations raised in this programme to put to him, such as why he set up a company for a man now suspected of terrorism.
hi, abdul samad, serious allegations against you. they're old and everything's online. there's some new allegations about the company you opened last year. no, it's old. what about the company? what about the company you... ? there we are, mr samad won't speak to us. he says these allegations are online, there's nothing new in them, and he won't respond to new allegations that we've seen, the detailed accusations in those fbi documents. it appears that siful sujan's network has been largely dismantled, but the threat from terrorists like sujan remains, despite the demise of the so—called islamic state. this is, in many ways, a prototype of what's to come, especially as isis loses physical territory, they're going to move back into more of an al-qaeda type of approach which is shifting
funding to supporters in the west and to encourage attacks. man speaks arabic tasneem khalil: i would say people like sujan, they are now more important for the next generation ofjihadi organisations that would succeed isis. if you kill the man, the machine actually survives. in wales, the death of siful sujan and the reality that he was such a high—ranking figure in isis was not the first time a community here had to deal with such news. wales has wrestled with the problem of radicalisation for nearly a decade now. protesters shout a plot to blow up the london stock exchange involved men from cardiff. and the city also saw three young
men leave their homes and families to travel to syria to join isis. the physical threat of the so—called islamic state in the middle east may be significantly diminished, but the continued fear of home—grown extremism hasn't gone away. many of us had at least a little rain, a reality yesterday. it is back to business as usual today. we have seen some dreadful first thing this morning, but behind high pressure is building for the rest of saturday which means there will be
more sunshine than we had during the day on friday. there are some exceptions, the main one bringing rain back into the north west of scotland. the other could be some sharp shower is arranged through the afternoon as temperatures are expected to get to the high 20s. compared with yesterday, it will feel warm with more sunshine, the best sunshine around the coast. warmer, brighter, more sunshine for northern ireland, much of scotland as well. later in the day, we've got that patchy rain coming back into the north and west. for the open, it looks the north and west. for the open, it loo ks m ostly the north and west. for the open, it looks mostly finance dry. the drizzle will clear away and it should be largely great. warmer tomorrow with a bit more sunshine. that's because we pick up more of a westerly breeze, it dries out the airas it westerly breeze, it dries out the air as it comes over the grampian mountains. we see that happening tonight, but there will be more moisture around scotland and northern ireland, some more cloud for england and wales, mist and fog will return at low levels and will
bea will return at low levels and will be a fairly uncomfortable night sleeping as we start to the humidity. sunday looks like another fine and sunny day for the majority of england and wales, eastern scotla nd of england and wales, eastern scotland and easter northern ireland. the north—west will be cloudier than we've seen today, the cloudier than we've seen today, the cloud second—half for raymond russell, particularly across the western isles and the northern isles. around those western coasts, cooler, 25 in scotland, 23 and northern ireland, pushing towards 30 degrees in sight east england. 0nly the smallest chance of a chevre. however, we will have this weather front early next week meandering its way across scotland and northern ireland in particular. we are into the atlantic fresh air. ahead of it, the atlantic fresh air. ahead of it, the heat will continue to build, seeing more heat being given by the sun and escaping at this time of year. the temperatures start to gradually increase and we could be towards the mid—30s as we go into next week. there is more on the
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