16 Oct 2017

Guilty of illegal sub-letting, may face jail

A former champion boxer who became an Islamic extremist and ISIS supporter is facing jail for illegally sub-letting his home.

Anthony Small, 36, and his partner Maryam Malik, 25, charged nearly £1,000 a month to tenants living in two south London housing association properties, while the couple were receiving housing benefits.

Former British and Commonwealth boxing champion Small, who is also known as Abdul Haqq, starred last year in the BBC reality TV series, Muslims Like Us.

He was convicted of committing fraud which he used to help support his lifestyle.

He is a follower of the extremist preacher Anjem Choudary and has boasted online that he was labelled the 'ISIS boxer.'

Small was acquitted two years ago of using a false passport to try and leave the country in the back of a lorry to join the fighting in Syria.

Woolwich Crown Court heard that Small and Malik were living with her parents in Stoke-on-Trent after she had given birth to a baby in May last year. Small advertised his flat in Camberwell, south London and eventually let it out for £800 a month, even though he was still receiving £216 a month in housing benefit. Malik let out her flat in Sydenham, for about £900 a month in cash after answering an advert on Gumtree, while still receiving £502.80 in housing benefit.

The preacher would return to London for a few days a month to collect the rent and stay in a room at his flat, but his 'tenant' had the run of the rest of the apartment.

The tenants in both flats were apparently unaware of the illegal arrangement and Small had even drawn up a tenancy agreement that he had downloaded from the internet.

The scam was uncovered in August last year when Miss Malik arranged for a housing association engineer to attend one of the properties to fix a faulty boiler. The engineer realised the tenant had no idea the property was owned by a housing association and reported it to his bosses.

However, when they were caught out the pair then attempted to persuade two of their sub-tenants - one of whom was pregnant and due to give birth to a child with a heart defect - to leave. A tussle ensued with one of the tenants, who claimed he was punched to the ground.

Lesley Bates, prosecuting, said: 'This case is about two people who have taken advantage of a system which provides housing to those who need it and cannot afford to pay themselves. It is about two people who have sought to undermine that system by renting out the property they have been allocated and which is paid for by housing benefit, in order to obtain cash to line their own pockets.'

Small and Malik were each was found guilty of one count of fraud and one count of unlawful subletting.

They will be sentenced on November 2.


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