Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.


Hamza sons guilty of car scam

Three sons of jailed hook-handed cleric Abu Hamza exploited a loophole in the vehicle registration system to carry out a "sophisticated" £1m car scam, a court heard.

The men and others targeted expensive makes including Mercedes, BMW and Range Rover in long-stay car parks. Pretending the vehicles were theirs, they tricked the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency into transferring ownership to an alias and sending new log books to front addresses. Keys were then obtained from dealers and the cars stolen, London's Southwark Crown Court heard.

The final stage involved selling them to unsuspecting buyers or using them as collateral to take out loans which they never repaid.

Hamza's sons, Hamza Kamel, 22, and Mohamed Mostafa, 27, helped run the two-year fraud with the cleric's stepson, Mohssin Ghailam, 28. Kamel and Mostafa, from Acton, West London, variously admitted fraud, handling stolen goods and money laundering between January 2007 and November last year.

Ghailam, from Shepherd's Bush, London, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud. Four other London men have also admitted their involvement.

At a sentencing hearing, Martyn Bowyer, prosecuting, said: "This was a sophisticated, well-planned and professionally executed enterprise." Mr Bowyer said police officers identified 32 vehicles which were stolen, targeted for theft or used as collateral to fraudulently obtain loans. A number had been taken abroad and sold.

The hearing was adjourned to today when Judge Gregory Stone QC is due to pass sentence on the seven defendants.