A Dewsbury man arrested as part of an investigation into charity fraud related to donations to Syria has been released on bail today (Wednesday).
The man, 35, was one of eight arrested at addresses across the UK on Tuesday morning by Kent Police after more than £45,000 was seized at the Port of Dover on December 23, 2012.
The money – £31,816, plus 8,310 euros (£6,857) and 10,700 US dollars (£6,413) – which had come from four UK-based charities, was taken by police who believed it could be used for criminal or terrorist activities.
The civil war in Syria began with protests against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in March 2011. The death toll now exceeds 100,000 and millions have fled their homes.
A 43-year-old man from Huddersfield was also detained, along with two men aged 30 and 39 from Derby, two men aged 29 and 37 from east London, a 31-year-old man from south-east London and a 36-year-old man from Harlow.
Detective Chief Superintendent Chris Hogben of Kent Police said: “We have arrested a number of people across the country as part of an ongoing investigation into the fraudulent use of funds from four UK based charities. Our investigation aims to ensure the funds given by the public reach their intended destination and are not used in connection with criminal activity.
“We will continue to ensure any large quantities of cash being transported through Kent’s ports is checked against its purpose. It is now common practice for charities to transfer aid donations electronically, for auditing purposes, transparency, and to mitigate against theft of cash.
“We are working with our partners around the country to ensure money intended to help those in need in Syria is not used for criminal activity or in the terrorist arena. It is imperative that the public has confidence in the charities they support and in the money they are donating being used for the purpose it is intended.”
Kent police also advised people to use the online register of charities on the Charity Commission website before donating to make sure an organisation is legitimate.