Your pepperoni dollars at work. “Hassan El Sabsabi charged with funding terror after police raids across Melbourne,” by Shannon Deery, Monique Hore, and Jon Kaila, Herald Sun, September 30, 2014 (thanks to Kenneth):
A MAN accused of funding terrorism is being kept in a prison cell on his own following his arrest this morning.
Hassan El Sabsabi, 23, faced the Melbourne Magistrates Court this afternoon charged with six offences of making payments to terrorist groups.
One count relates to making a payment to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, also known as Islamic State.
The remaining five charges allege payments to Jabhat al-Nursa, “knowing that organisation was a terrorist organisation.”
Charge sheets filed with the court allege the payments were made between March 1 and August 11 at point Cook, Broadmeadows, Laverton, Seabrook and Hoppers Crossing.
Details of how the payments were made, or specifically to who, have not been released.
Police allege he provided funding of approximately $12,000.
The court heard Mr El Sabsabi has been under surveillance for more than eight months after FBI agents contacted Australian authorities.
A large bulk of the evidence collected against Mr El Sabsabi was gathered from social media with police yet to analyse 25,000 pages of material, the court heard.
More than 500 telephone intercepts will also need to be transcribed, translated and analysed while other electronic communication was seized from Mr El Sabsabi’s Seabrook home today.
Police asked the court for extra time to prepare the case against Mr El Sabsabi.
Dressed in a white t-shirt Mr El Sabsabi was not required to say anything during today’s administrative hearing.
He did not make an application for bail and was remanded to reappear at court in February.
A brief of evidence must be served on his solicitors before December 23.
Mr El Sabsabi’s lawyer asked for his immediate transfer to Melbourne Assessment Prison from the Melbourne Custody centre.
He said it was Mr El Sabsabi’s first time in custody and he urged transfer because of the nature of the charges against his client.
It is Mr El Sabsabi’s first time in custody.
Police will allege he sent the $12,000 to fund a US citizen to fight in Syria.
The person has been fighting in Syria for “several months”, and further funds were allegedly about to be transferred, Australian Federal Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Gaughan said today.
Mr El Sabsabi’s arrest came following raids across five suburbs this morning.
Mr Gaughan said the raids at seven Melbourne properties were the culmination of an eight-month investigation named Operation Hohensalzburg that was based on information provided by the FBI.
Victoria Police and AFP officers conducted the raids in Seabrook, Flemington, Meadow Heights, Kealba and Broadmeadows.
Officers seized “a large amount of electronic evidence” which will take “a significant amount of time to go through” and may result in more charges being laid.
Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Graham Ashton said the 6.45am raids were undertaken in a “low-key manner” due to the nature of the case.
He added the six other raids were to gather evidence about the accused man and there was no evidence of criminality at the other addresses.
Police said the raids were not related to last week’s fatal police shooting of teenage terror suspect Numan Haider and were not in response to a specific threat to the public.
Mr El Sabsabi was led away by police at his house in Point Cook Rd at Seabrook, as about 12 AFP officers searched the property using a sniffer dog.
He works at a pizza shop in Sunshine, a neighbour said.
Two people — a man and a woman — arrived at the house about 10.50am.
Seven AFP officers followed them inside shortly after.
Police moved a car parked in driveway into the garage and closed the doors.
A neighbour called Herve said he believed the accused man moved into the house in December after marrying his wife.
The house is located just metres from Seabrook Primary School.
Herve said he spoke to the man every day and was shocked to hear that he could be related to anti-terror raids.
“I’m out of words. I don’t know what to say,” he said.
“He is very friendly, a very nice guy….
He is no doubt a decent fellow.