The family of convicted Sydney terrorist Khaled Sharrouf have been forced to suspend operations at their Lakemba money transfer business as authorities investigate potential links to terrorism funding.
Financial intelligence agency AUSTRAC suspended the business activities of Damour Sharrouf and her husband Ahmed Alwash, sister and brother-in-law to one of Australia’s most wanted terrorists, amid concerns the firm was sending millions of dollars overseas to “high terrorism financing risk jurisdictions”, The SMH reported.
AUSTRAC acting head John Schmidt said the firm, Bisotel Rieh, has been unable to account for monies sent to Turkey and Lebanon and “routinely” failed to provide information pertaining to the final recipient of certain funds.
“We’ve had some concerns about the quality of their reporting. For example, for the period from January to August this year, they reported international funds transfers of $12.3 million. We believe from other sources that it was in fact closer to $21.3 million,” Schmidt said.
Schmidt said the firm admitted to smuggling cash across the border from Turkey to Lebanon after it was unable to set up a Lebanese bank account.
He admitted that while the business itself was under suspicion, customers requesting suspicious transfers to the Middle East may also be of concern.
It’s “possibly a combination of both” Schmidt said.
Mohamad Machlouche, who owns the barbershop next door to the money transfer business said:
“No one on earth was expecting anything like this,” adding Sharrouf and Alwash were hard workers who would never involve themselves in such activities and urged people not to “judge by association.”
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