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Entries in Kashmiri American Council (1)

Tuesday
Jul192011

Alleged Pakistani Agents Charged in U.S. Lobbying Scheme

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Pakistani government, including its notorious intelligence agency, used unregistered agents on U.S. soil to funnel millions of dollars and illegally influenced the U.S. government, the Justice Department said Tuesday.

Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai, an American citizen, was arrested Tuesday morning in Virginia by the FBI and charged with moving money that came from Pakistan through an organization he headed in Washington called the Kashmiri American Council (KAC).

Another man, Zaheer Ahmed, was also charged in the one-count criminal complaint with being an unregistered foreign agent. Zaheer allegedly served as the conduit for the funds to be transferred to Fai which came from about 10 straw donors. Ahmed, a U.S. citizen, is currently believed to be living in Pakistan.

According to a Federal Elections Commission records search, Fai donated $23,500 to political candidates from both parties. Going back to 1997, Fai donated $9,500 to the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, $7,500 to Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.), $1,000 to Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), $500 to Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), $250 to the Obama campaign and $250 to Al Gore.

Under U.S. law individuals who work or represent the interests of foreign governments are required to register their status as foreign agents with the Attorney General. According to federal investigators, Fai's funds -- about $500,000 a year -- came directly from the government of Pakistan.

Burton has been a vocal member in Congress in support of free elections in Kashmir and has criticized the Indian government for their claims there. He told ABC News he had "no inkling" that Fai was involved with any foreign intelligence operation, as the U.S. government alleges, despite knowing him for 20 years.

Representatives for Moran declined to comment for this report, and Kucinich's office did not immediately reply for requests for comment.

According to Justice Department officials, the men were only interested in lobbying and were not trying to obtain sensitive information and, therefore, have not been charged with espionage.

The FBI became alerted to the men's activities through the use of two confidential witnesses who provided information the FBI about the men's operations. According to the FBI affidavit, one of the witnesses told investigators that Fai received instructions and tasking orders from Pakistani intelligence through a retired Brigadier General named Javeed Aziz Khan.

The FBI affidavit notes that Khan had emailed Fai in April 9, 2009, in an effort to make Secretary of State Hillary Clinton make a statement about Kashmir.

An attorney for Mr. Fai could not be located on Tuesday. If convicted, he faces a maximum of five years in prison.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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