Reduce Fai`s offense level: US attorney

Last Updated: Friday, March 23, 2012 - 12:16

Washington: An American prosecutor has approached a US court requesting it to grant reduction in offenses level of Kashmiri separatist Ghulam Nabi Fai, convicted of illegally working for the Pakistani spy agency ISI, saying he assisted the authorities in the probe.

Moving a motion before a Virginia court in Alexandria, US Attorney Neil H MacBride argued that 62-year-old Fai, who pleaded guilty of his charges last December, had assisted the authorities in the investigation and prosecution of his own misconduct.

The sentencing of Fai, who heads Washington-based separatist Kashmir American Council (KAC), has been scheduled for March 30.

In December, Fai had pleaded guilty to conspiracy and tax violations in connection with a decades-long scheme to conceal the transfer of at least USD 3.5 million from ISI to fund his lobbying efforts in America related to Kashmir.

A few weeks earlier, the US court had relaxed the conditions related to his house arrest, including exempting him from radio surveillance, return of his passport and allowing his local travel, but did forbid him from foreign travel. He is also restricted to meet foreign official delegation.

"The government states that the defendant has assisted authorities in the investigation and prosecution of his own misconduct by timely notifying the United States of the defendant`s intention to enter a plea of guilty, thereby permitting the US to avoid preparing for trial and permitting the US and the court to allocate their resources efficiently," said the motion moved by the US attorney on March 20.

Fai, who was arrested on July 19, 2011, faces a maximum potential sentence of five years in prison for the conspiracy count and a maximum three years in prison for the tax violation.

As part of his plea agreement, Fai had agreed to forfeit his interest in USD 142,851.32 seized by the FBI in July 2011. Appearing before a US court on December 07, Fai had pleaded guilty to a two-count criminal information.

"For the last 20 years, Fai secretly took millions of dollars from Pakistani intelligence and lied about it to the US government," MacBride had then said in a statement.

"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," he said.

"Fai purposefully hid financial transactions from the US government, with intentions that his scheme to fund lobbying efforts by a foreign government would go unnoticed," FBI Assistant Director in Charge James McJunkin had then said.

PTI



First Published: Friday, March 23, 2012 - 12:16

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