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Fai took millions from ISI to do their bidding in US

By Arun Kumar, IANS,

Washington: US-based Kashmiri separatist Ghulam Nabi Fai, who has pleaded guilty to secretly receiving millions of dollars from Pakistan’s spy agency did the bidding of his handlers in Pakistan for 20 years, according to court documents.

Fai, 62, pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiracy and tax violations in connection with a decades-long scheme to conceal the transfer of at least $3.5 million from the government of Pakistan to influence US policy on Kashmir.

Prosecutors said as a paid operative of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Fai recruited people to act as “straw” donors who would give money to his NGO Kashmiri American Council (KAC) which really was coming from the Pakistani government.

“For the last 20 years, Fai secretly took millions of dollars from Pakistani intelligence and lied about it to the US government,” prosecutors said.

“As a paid operative of ISI, he did the bidding of his handlers in Pakistan while he met with US elected officials, funded high-profile conferences and promoted the Kashmiri cause to decision-makers in Washington.”

Fai admitted that, from 1990 until about July 18, 2011, he conspired with others to obtain money from officials employed by the government of Pakistan, including the ISI, for the operation of the KAC in the United States.

To prevent the US authorities from learning the source of the money he received from Pakistani officials and the ISI, Fai made a series of false statements and representations, according to court documents.

For example, Fai told FBI agents in March 2007 that he had never met anyone from the ISI and in July 2011, Fai falsely denied to FBI agents that he or the KAC received money from the ISI or government of Pakistan.

In fact, Fai repeatedly submitted annual KAC strategy reports and budgetary requirements to Pakistani government officials for approval.

For instance, in 2009, Fai sent the ISI a document entitled “Plan of Action of KAC / Kashmir Centre, Washington, D.C., for the Fiscal Year 2010,” which itemised KAC’s 2010 budget request of $658,000 and listed Fai’s plans to secure US congressional support for US action in support of Kashmiri self-determination.

According to court documents, Fai accepted the transfer at least $3.5 million to the KAC from the ISI and the government of Pakistan through Pakistani American co-accused Zaheer Ahmad and middlemen (straw donors), who received reimbursement from Ahmad for their purported “donations” to the KAC.

Fai provided letters from the KAC to the straw donors documenting that their purported “donations” to the KAC were tax deductible and encouraged these donors to deduct the transfers as “charitable” deductions on their personal tax returns.

Fai concealed from the IRS that the straw donors’ purported KAC “donations” were reimbursed by Ahmad, using funds received from officials employed by the ISI and the government of Pakistan.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at [email protected])