5 Islamists Charged With Illegally Sending 1.4 Million to Iraq
The Columbia, Missouri Islamic group sent 1.4 million dollars, including government grant money, to Iraq illegally.
The St. Louis Post Dispatch reported:
JEFFERSON CITY — Five associates of a defunct Columbia, Mo.-based Islamic charity, including a state employee, have been indicted on charges they illegally sent money to Iraq and stole public donations, the U.S. attorney’s office announced Wednesday. (Federal Indictment Here)
A federal grand jury returned the indictments on Tuesday.
The documents, which charge the five men with illegally transferring money to Iraq, money laundering, theft of government funds, making false statements to federal authorities and obstructing the administration of Internal Revenue Service laws, among other things, were unsealed Wednesday after two of the defendants made their initial court appearances in Kansas City.
The 33-count indictment alleges that five associates of the Islamic American Relief Agency, or IARA-USA, sent $1.4 million in aid to Iraq from 1991 to 2003, when government-imposed sanctions were in place.
Those sanctions were lifted in May 2003, when Saddam Hussein and his Baathist Party were ousted from power by U.S.-led coalition forces.
Federal authorities say the charity group used its tax-exempt status to solicit thousands of dollars in public donations. Those donations were, in turn, transferred to bank accounts in Jordan and given to Iraqis and Iraqi organizations.
The indictment says the money was used to promote “unlawful activity” but fails to explain how the money was spent. The indictment also says the charity stole about $85,000 from a $4.2 million federal grant with the U.S. Agency for International Development for relief in the African country of Mali.
Some of that money, the indictment alleges, was used to pay a lobbyist in 2004 to try to get the embattled charity off a Senate Finance Committee list of organizations suspected of being involved in supporting international terrorism.
Named in Tuesday’s indictment were:
— Khalid Al-Sudanee, 55, of Amman, Jordan, the regional director of a related organization’s Middle East office. RELATED LINK
Federal indictment of Missourians charged with transferring money to Iraq
— Ali Mohamed Bagegni, 53, of Iowa City, Iowa, a former board member.
— Abdel Azim El-Siddiq, 50, of Palos Heights, Ill., the agency’s former vice president.
— Mubarak Hamed, 50, of Columbia, a environmental specialist with the Department of Natural Resources and the Islamic charity’s former executive director.
— Ahmad Mustafa, 54, of Columbia, a former fundraiser and Iraq native.
The charity was originally organized to help needy children in Sudan!
Hamed is still an employee with the State of Missouri.