- Supporters of Choudary paid by businessman to run training courses
- Businessman also ran a sweet shop in the East End of London
- Received grants from Government agency after links to Choudary known
- Man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, branded a terrorist funder
Britain's most notorious Islamist extremists were bankrolled by more than £1 million of taxpayers' money while waging their campaign of hate,
A dozen supporters of Islamic State recruiter Anjem Choudary – many of them now convicted terrorists or jihadis who are fighting in Syria or have died there – were paid wages by a businessman who was handed huge sums of public money to run computer training courses in libraries and job centres.
And now a judge has found that the man – a close associate of Choudary's – funnelled tens of thousands of pounds through front companies to key members of Choudary's banned terrorist group Al-Muhajiroun (ALM).
A dozen supporters of Islamic State recruiter Anjem Choudary (pictured) were paid wages by a businessman who was handed huge sums of public money to run computer training courses in libraries and job centres
His firms included an old-fashioned sweet shop in the East End of London, in whose basement the extremists would hold 'Sharia surgeries' and discuss their plans for murderous jihad.
But, astonishingly, the businessman continued to receive grants from a Government agency nearly four years after his links to Choudary first became known.
Many members of the gang he financed and provided a headquarters for are now behind bars or fighting for Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, including:
- Siddhartha Dhar, the IS executioner known as 'Jihadi Sid', who was employed as a printer maintenance technician for the training firm;
His firms included an old-fashioned sweet shop in the East End of London (pictured), in whose basement the extremists would hold 'Sharia surgeries' and discuss their plans for murderous jihad
- Mohammed Mizanur Rahman, Choudary's right-hand man, who is facing jail for supporting IS but once designed websites and did marketing;
- Brusthom Ziamani, serving a 22-year sentence for trying to kill a British police officer or serviceman, attended ALM talks underneath the sweet shop and was on its payroll;
- Trevor Brooks, behind bars for trying to reach Syria, was a 'hardworking' employee of the firm who 'even did overtime'.
The businessman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was branded a terrorist funder by Ministers and had his bank accounts frozen after police and MI5 said he had enabled ALM 'to exist and grow by providing employment and meeting places under an apparent legitimate veil of a confectionery shop'.
But he was never charged with any offence and has now won his appeal against the Treasury's freezing of his assets.
Details of the astonishing state funding of Britain's most notorious terror group have only emerged in the High Court case he brought against the Government.
The executioner: Siddhartha Dhar (left), 32, was an ALM leader and worked at Master Printers but is now an IS executioner in Syria. The lollipop jihadi: Trevor Brooks (right) was caught supposedly on his way to Syria just days after the Paris terror attacks
Last night there was outrage that taxpayers' money had been used for as long as a decade to prop up Choudary's evil empire.
Home Affairs Committee chairman Keith Vaz MP told the MoS last night he would demand answers from the Home Secretary over the case and said: 'This is a most disturbing state of affairs.
'It is incredible that so much Government money has been spent on an organisation that supports individuals engaged in such activities.
'The Government must ask for its money back from this company and there must be a full inquiry into this. I shall be writing to the Home Secretary asking for a full explanation.'
Choudary, 49, is now facing ten years' jail for swearing allegiance to IS, having avoided prosecution for years even as his extremist groups were banned by the Government and his vile outbursts sparked outrage.
The trained lawyer became notorious when ALM celebrated the 9/11 hijackers as the 'magnificent 19' and Choudary inspired a generation of British terrorists including Lee Rigby murderer Michael Adebolajo.
But it has never been revealed until now that ALM was relying on Government money to stir up hate against Britain.
The knifeman: Brusthom Ziamani (left) is serving 22 years for plotting to behead a soldier. The protester: Abdul Muhid (right) was jailed for his role in the Danish embassy demonstration
According to the High Court judgment published last Friday, the businessman – identified only as 'C' – set up Best Training Solutions in 2001 and soon started getting Government grants to help people get jobs by giving them basic computer skills.
It became 'very successful' and at one stage had a turnover of £1.4 million, employed some 40 people, operated four branches and ran partnerships with ten libraries and community centres as well as having 'a presence' in 20 Jobcentres.
The judge, Mr Justice Cranston, said 95 per cent of its turnover came from public money.
Choudary's associate 'C' also set up a printing firm called Master Printers and an old-fashioned sweet shop called Yummy Sweets, later known as Yummy Yummy, and kept them afloat by diverting at least £693,663 to their bank accounts from the state-funded Best Training.
And according to the judgment, 12 of the sweet shop's 13 employees were members of ALM and many also had roles in the training firms.
In addition, the cellar of a terraced building used by Master Printers and Yummy Yummy in East London became a key meeting place for the extremists.
But even after Best Training's links to Choudary were exposed in 2011, its state funding continued.
The deputy: Mohammed Mizanur Rahman (left) is awaiting a lengthy jail term for inviting support for IS. The boxer: Anthony Small (right) was cleared last year of plotting to join IS
Figures seen by this newspaper show the training firm received £1,187,883 of public money from the Skills Funding Agency between 2012 and 2014 alone.
Eventually, in September 2014, police searched the associate's home and offices and arrested him along with ten other people on suspicion of terror offences.
In the headquarters, officers found 'a list of Muslim prisoners, including some sentenced for terrorist offences' and an IS flag.
When questioned by police, C 'denied knowledge of any of those items' and was not charged with any offence.
However the High Court heard that a Detective Sergeant Collins believed that 'without C's support, ALM could not have functioned' at the New Road address.
Police believed, according to the court judgment, that the associate 'was using substantial profits from Best Training to subsidise the failing enterprise Yummy Sweets, the employees of which were all members of ALM'.
He had 'enabled the group to exist and grow by providing employment and meeting places under an apparent legitimate veil of a confectionery shop'.
The convert: Simon Keeler, 44, (pictured) a builder at Yummy Sweets, was previously convicted of terror fundraising
As a result, C was designated under the Terrorist Asset-Freezing Act 2010 in February 2015.
But a judge has now allowed his appeal because C claims he no longer has any money with which to fund terrorism.
The MoS knows the identity of C, who declined to comment on the judgment yesterday.
A Skills Funding Agency spokesman said it was made aware in 2014 that the police were investigating Best Training.
'The SFA worked in full co-operation with the police which resulted in Best Training being suspended with immediate effect from SFA's register of training providers and Government funding ceased.'