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Pakistani man pleads guilty to providing money to failed Times Square bomber

August 20, 2011 - New York

A Pakistani man has pleaded guilty in an American court to running an unlicensed money transfer business between the United States and Pakistan.

One of the money transfers facilitated by Muhammad Younis was used to fund the attempt by Faisal Shahzad, a US citizen of Pakistani origin, to set off a car bomb in Times Square on May 1, 2010, the US Justice Department said.

Shahzad is serving a life sentence in federal prison for the attempted bombing.

Preet Bharara, US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said the plea "should send a clear message that we will not leave no stone unturned in our investigations of terrorists and how they get the money to finance their plots."

Younis, 45, operated a 'hawala', a sort of informal system of transferring monetary value without physically transferring money across international borders, The Nation reports.

On April 10, 2010, he conducted two transactions that provided thousands of dollars to two customers "at the direction of a co-conspirator in Pakistan, but without knowledge of how the customers were planning to use the funds", the Justice Department said in a news release.

"One of the individuals to whom Younis provided money was Shahzad, who, on June 21, 2010, pleaded guilty to a 10-count indictment charging him with crimes relating to his attempt to detonate a car bomb in Times Square," prosecutors said.

Younis, who is scheduled to be sentenced on November 30, faces a maximum prison sentence of five years and a maximum fine of 250,000 dollars, or double the gain or loss arising from his conduct, the release said.


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