Scotland's largest mosque has been warned that it could have been exploited by money-launderers.

Investigators working for Glasgow Central Mosque believe previous accounting practices left the body vulnerable to "unscrupulous" individuals.

The concerns centre around loans being made to the mosque in cash but returned by cheque, a practice that would not be allowed in a business.

They have sparked calls from a senior Labour MSP and a prominent SNP-backing lawyer for money-laundering laws to apply to places of worship.

Glasgow Central Mosque is already at the centre of an investigation by Scotland's charities watchdog, OSCR.

The regulator, which was called in by a new committee led by reform-minded young professionals, has already ruled that the behaviour of some previous trustees "was not of a standard expected of people involved in a charity".

Old committees  - some with orthodox views - effectively ran the Clydeside complex from its creation in 1984.

Background: Solicitor Aamer Anwar on the battle for the soul of Glasgow Central Mosque.

The Herald: Exterior of the Glasgow Central Mosque.Picture by Stewart Attwood

The new committee, headed by General Secretary Nabeel Shaikh, ordered a review of finances from financial investigator John O'Donnell, formerly of the HM Customs and Excise fraud investigation service.

The Herald has obtained a copy of Mr O'Donnell's preliminary report. It is understood that investigations continue.

Mr O'Donnell wrote: "I am aware that it is possible for an individual to loan money to the mosque, and, after a period of time, ask to have the loan repaid.

"I understand that it is also possible that the original loan could be by cash, and the repayment by cheque.

"This does raise the possibility that the Mosque could be used by unscrupulous individuals to launder illegally obtained funds."

"Mosques and other places of worship are not covered by the money-laundering regulations.

The Herald: Aamer Anwar

Solicitor Aamer Anwar, pictured above, has been advising the Mosque's new leaders. He said that Police Scotland's financial crime unit had been alerted to "alleged irregularities" in mosque accounts.

He said: "One of the issues raised by the new committee at Glasgow Central Mosque was the possibility that it could have been vulnerable to being exploited for money-laundering.

"In the present climate - with heightened concerns over everything from organised crime to terrorism - this is simply not acceptable.

"I think the law has to change so that places of worship are subject to the same money-laundering regulations as everybody else and not seen as an opportunity for criminals to exploit "

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Labour MSP Graeme Pearson, pictured above, who used to run Scotland's main policy unit tackling organised crime, said there was "gap" in the legislation on mosques, churches and other places of worship.

He added: "I believe that our proceeds of crime and money laundering laws should be reviewed. They have been on the statute books for 15 years.

"This review should include looking at whether places of worship should be covered."

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Charity Watchdog on problems at the Mosque

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There have previously been warnings of potential money-laundering in Christian organisations.

Mainstream religious organisations are understood to be relaxed about any proposals to make them subject to money-laundering regulations, including those designed to stop cash being legitimised.

A Church of Scotland spokeswoman said: "We are not aware of any concerns relating to this legislation but would be happy to examine any detailed proposals brought forward."