BUNGLING’s terror services did not respond to information about two of the 7/7 bombers a year before the attack, a criminal gang whistleblower revealed.
Retired accountant Paul Blanchard, who briefly worked for a close associate of notorious criminal John “Goldfinger” Palmer between 1999 and 2001, faxed security services in 2004 naming assassins Mohammad Sidique Khan and Shehzad Tanweer.
A year later, they were among four suicide bombers who blew up underground trains and buses in London, killing 52 people.
Today, in an exclusive interview marking the 18th anniversary of the harrowing attacks, Paul explains why he believes the security services either failed to investigate or ignored his tip.
He said: “Somebody has to answer that. If they had followed my information, the attacks might not have happened.”
Paul, 78, who claims to have collected the information while working for Spanish security services, added: “I profiled a man we suspected of being linked to terrorists and some of his associates, friends and contacts found. These names included Sidique Khan and Tanweer.
“I could have looked into the whites of her eyes”
“I didn’t know them from Adam, but I knew they should have been monitored, so I listed them as ‘known employees’.
“I gave this to the task force who said they passed it on to our security services 12 months before the attack.
“My blood ran cold when I realized that they had overlooked the killers after my tip. I felt anger, frustration and great sadness for the people who died in the London bombings.
“I’m afraid the special forces and the security services have to answer questions.”
Paul, jailed in 2006 on multiple counts of fraud, reveals his documents for the first time and begins a legal battle to clear his name.
The fax he sent on 21 July 2004 to a North Yorkshire Police Special Branch agent lists Tanweer and Sidique Khan as “known associates” of an alleged terror fundraiser, whose names we cannot disclose for legal reasons.
Paul is also sharing police testimony today from the Special Branch agent, in which he admits receiving a fax from Paul and forwarding it to security.
The revelation that more could have been done to monitor two of the killers will add to the pain felt by those living in the 7/7 atrocities marking the 18th anniversary of the attacks.
On July 7, 2005, four bombers blew up trains and buses as London commuters went to work.
Father-of-one Khan, 30, detonated a bomb on the Circle line at Edgware Road tube station at 8.50am, killing six people.
Seven died when 22-year-old Tanweer blew up a train in Aldgate.
The British-born couple had made the bombs before traveling to London.
The other two were Germaine Lindsay and Hasib Hussain.
Someone has to answer that. If they had followed my information, the attacks might not have happened.
Lindsay detonated his bomb in the front of a crowded tube shortly after it had left King’s Cross station. 26 people were killed.
Hussain detonated his device on a double-decker bus in Tavistock Square. He killed 13 people.
Paul’s involvement in the criminal underworld began in 1999 when he began working for businessman Mohamed Derbah, John Palmer’s right-hand man.
Her life was featured on the BBC series Gold earlier this year.
He said: “After working for them for two years, I quickly realized it wasn’t entirely accurate – it was cheating. So in July 2001 I went to the Spanish police, who then put me in touch with the Spanish secret service. This resulted in Derbah and 17 of his accomplices being arrested.
“The next year, when I was working with the Spanish police, they recruited me as an agent.
“They seemed most interested in terrorist affiliations, the IRA and Islamic terrorist groups.
“It took me to all sorts of places, which were pretty scary.”
Later that year, Paul claims to have attended fundraisers for an Islamic terrorist group.
He said: “We first met at a service station on the M6. They wanted to discuss using offshore companies to store their money.
“We then had a meeting at the Meridian Hotel in London. The fundraiser and seven employees were in attendance.
“I have no idea if Sidique Khan and Tanweer were among them.
“I remember their names popping up on records and deals, so I listed them as fundraiser workers.
“It’s scary now that I could have looked into the whites of their eyes not knowing the atrocities they would then commit.”
In May 2004, Paul was asked by the Spanish secret service to examine the documents of one of the Islamic group’s key employees.
Then he came across the names Sidique Khan and Tanweer.
He said: “I was called to Malaga police station and asked to go through the mobile phone and files containing the documents that had been seized when this employee was arrested.
“I went through them all and wrote down any numbers, nicknames or names of anyone who seemed connected to the group.
“I saw the names of Tanweer and Sidique Khan. They were mentioned as people this person dealt with, so I noted them as people of interest.”
“I feel sorry for the families of those who died”
He then claims to have sent information about the Islamic group to CGI, the Spanish security services, but says he later had a fight with his handlers after they accused him of being on business during a separate questioning by Spanish police been indiscreet.
On July 1, 2004, Paul was arrested in the United Kingdom for his links to the men whom the Spanish security forces said he was trying to track.
When he told them about his work for the CGI, he asked to speak to the British security services – and when he mentioned who he was looking for, they asked him to share the details.
In a document seen by The Sun, Paul sent a fax to a Special Branch agent naming two of the 7/7 bombers.
In a 2007 police testimony obtained for Paul’s fraud trial, the agent wrote, “The only time I can remember speaking to Mr Blanchard again was on or about July 21 2004 when he called me at the office and wanted to fax me some details to pass on to security.
He did and I passed on the details.”
Paul had just got off a flight from Marbella to the UK when he heard news of the 2005 terrorist attack.
He said: “I was horrified, like the rest of the world.
“I was wondering if anyone I was dealing with was involved.”
Paul was jailed in 2006 for acts he allegedly committed while working for the CGI.
He alleges that his lawyers at the time said a junior “misplaced” some key memos and evidence proving his spy connection.
His entire fortune was immediately frozen.
It was only when he left in 2011 and hired new lawyers that they went to the offices of his former lawyers and found the documents.
The lawyers then revealed the two names of the assassins in his fax to the security services.
He said: “I had a mixture of feelings. One was anger that the security services had done nothing or failed to stop these people.”
In 2019, Spanish police attempted to extradite him from the country.
But these crucial documents helped him win his case.
Paul, who has just written a book about his time undercover, now speaks up as his assets have just been declassified and he is using his money and this evidence to clear his name.
He said: “I feel so sorry for the families of those who died.
“I am speaking now as I want my separate fraud conviction overturned and I will fight it in court.
“These were all things I did when I was working for Spanish security services who have since washed their hands with me.
“I have a chance at redemption. But unfortunately that is not the case for those who died 7/7.”
A spokesman for North Yorkshire Police declined to comment.