- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 16, 2002

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Two men who helped run the Virginia branch of a Somalia-based financial network accused by the Bush administration of giving money to Osama bin Laden's terrorist network pleaded not guilty yesterday in federal court in Alexandria to charges of evading federal banking rules.
A trial date of June 18 was set for Abdirahman Sheikh-Ali Isse and Abdillah S. Abdi. Neither man made any statement in court, and lawyers for the men declined comment after the hearing.
An indictment April 3 made no specific mention of the September 11 attacks or any funding of terrorist activities.
According to that indictment, Mr. Isse ran the Alexandria branch of Al-Barakaat, a money-wiring organization. The other defendant, Mr. Abdi, worked with him.
The men are accused of using different names and a variety of local bank accounts to wire more than $6 million to the United Arab Emirates over 3 years, illegally making sure that each transaction was less than $10,000, according to the indictment.
Federal banking laws require that transactions involving more than $10,000 be reported to the Internal Revenue Service.
Last fall, the Bush administration publicly accused the Al-Barakaat network of funding bin Laden's terrorist organization.
In November, the United States froze Al-Barakaat's assets and raided its offices in Alexandria, Minneapolis, Boston, Seattle and Columbus, Ohio.
Mr. Isse and Mr. Abdi each are charged with one count of conspiracy and seven counts of structuring financial transactions to evade reporting requirements.
They appear to be the only persons in Northern Virginia charged with a crime as a result of raids conducted in the region in November and in March. Those raids were a part of the government's efforts to shut down terrorists' financial network.
Many Islamic groups have criticized the raids as unfairly targeting Muslims.

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