- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 8, 2009

BALTIMORE (AP) | A Canadian citizen who was indicted on a charge of working for Saddam Hussein’s government while living in Maryland has pleaded guilty to making a false statement regarding an immigration matter, federal prosecutors said Friday.

Mouyad Mahmoud Darwish, 48, entered the plea Friday in U.S. District Court. He will be sentenced Oct. 23.

According to the plea agreement, Darwish, a Canadian citizen born in Iraq, worked from 2000 to March 2003 as an accountant and driver at the Iraqi Interests Section (ISEC) within the Algerian Embassy. In December 2003, prosecutors say, he went to work at the reopened Iraqi Embassy, continuing there until spring of 2004.

Darwish’s job with the ISEC was arranged for him by Saubhe Jassim al-Dellemy, an Iraqi national who was a member of the Iraqi Ba’ath Party.

Al-Dellemy owned a restaurant called the Gourmet Shish Kebab in Laurel, and in January 2000 obtained certification from the Labor Department to hire Darwish as a cook. In June 2001, al-Dellemy applied for a visa allowing Darwish to work at the restaurant. The visa was approved in September 2001.

Neither Darwish nor al-Dellemy told immigration authorities that Darwish was working at the ISEC and the embassy.

During his tenure at the ISEC and embassy, prosecutors say, Darwish took direction from government officials within the establishments. In January 2004, al-Dellemy asked Darwish to find any files maintained by the ISEC regarding a person who had worked for Iraq under Saddam.

Darwish told al-Dellemy that the files relating to that person and others associated with the ISEC and the Ba’ath Party regime had been ordered destroyed by the former chief of station for the ISEC.

After the invasion of Iraq by coalition forces in March 2003, the U.S. military obtained confidential documents pertaining to Darwish, including one identifying him as an employee at the ISEC.

On May 20, 2003, during an interview with the FBI, Darwish gave false information regarding the start and length of his employment at the ISEC.

Al-Dellemy, 68, pleaded guilty to conspiring to act as an agent of Iraq. He will be sentenced on Sept. 11.

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