A Pakistani-American man charged in July with running a secret Pakistani intelligence center in the United States pleaded guilty 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 fund his lobbying efforts in America related to Kashmir,” the Justice Department announced Wednesday.
Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai, 62, faces a maximum of five years in prison on the conspiracy count and three years on the tax violation when he’s sentence on March 9. Under his plea agreement, Fai will forfeit his interest in $142,851.32 that was seized by the government after his arrest.
Fai had a long relationship with Indiana Republican Rep. Dan Burton and other lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and was accused of being part of a scheme by Pakistan to pay over $4 million to U.S. politicians. His alleged co-conspirator, Zaheer Ahmad, died of a stroke in September.
From a Justice Department press release:
Today, 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 [Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate], for the operation of the KAC in the United States, and that he did so outside the knowledge of the U.S. government and without attracting the attention of law enforcement and regulatory authorities. To prevent the Justice Department, FBI, Department of Treasury and the IRS from learning the source of the money he received from officials employed by the government of Pakistan 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 who identified himself as being affiliated with the ISI and, in May 2009, he falsely denied to the IRS on a tax return for the KAC that the KAC had received any money from foreign sources in 2008.
Fai also admitted that he “repeatedly submitted annual KAC strategy reports and budgetary requirements to Pakistani government officials for approval,” including one 2009 document he sent to ISI entitled “Plan of Action of KAC / Kashmir Centre, Washington, D.C., for the Fiscal Year 2010.” The plan “itemized KAC’s 2010 budget request of $658,000 and listed Fai’s plans to secure U.S. congressional support for U.S. action in support of Kashmiri self-determination,” according to DOJ.
“For the last 20 years, Mr. Fai secretly took millions of dollars from Pakistani intelligence and lied about it to the U.S. government,” U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Neil MacBride said in a statement. “As a paid operative of ISI, he did the bidding of his handlers in Pakistan while he met with U.S. elected officials, funded high-profile conferences and promoted the Kashmiri cause to decision-makers in Washington.”