- The Washington Times - Friday, October 24, 2003

A leading Muslim activist accused of attempting to smuggle $340,000 in U.S. currency from Libya to fund “one or more” terrorist organizations, including al Qaeda, is scheduled for arraignment Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va.

Abdul Rahman al-Amoudi, 51, of Falls Church, founder of the American Muslim Council and the American Muslim Foundation, is accused of trying to funnel the cash — 34 bundles of sequentially numbered $100 bills — through Saudi Arabia to the United States to evade federal currency-reporting requirements.

Mr. al-Amoudi, chief architect of the U.S. military’s Muslim cleric training and selection program, was named Thursday in an 18-count indictment, accused of engaging in illegal financial transactions with Libya, money laundering, misuse of a passport, failure to report foreign bank accounts and lying in an application to become a naturalized U.S. citizen.

“Those who cozy up with state sponsors of terrorism will not be tolerated,” said U.S. Attorney Paul J. McNulty in Virginia, whose office is prosecuting the case. “The indictment demonstrates our commitment to prosecute those who take secret money from state sponsors of terrorism.”

An affidavit filed in federal court in Alexandria by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agent Brett Gentrup said the $340,000 “was intended for delivery in Damascus to one or more of the terrorists or terrorist organizations active in Syria.”

The affidavit said Mr. al-Amoudi was “engaged in financial transactions” with Libya, which the document described as “one of the seven state sponsors of terrorism.”

Mr. al-Amoudi was arrested Sept. 28 by ICE and FBI agents at Washington Dulles International Airport shortly after arriving on a flight from London. Initially, he was accused of visiting Libya in violation of government-ordered sanctions and of illegally accepting $10,700 from the Libyan Mission to the United Nations.

The affidavit also said Mr. al-Amoudi told British customs authorities, who found the $340,000 Aug. 16 in London before the Muslim activist boarded a flight to Damascus, Syria, that he hoped to use the cash for the American Muslim Foundation and intended to deposit it in banks in Saudi Arabia “from which he would feed it back in smaller sums into accounts in the United States.”

But the affidavit said federal investigators did not believe the money was intended for the foundation, noting that the Libyan government has used couriers for the past several years to deliver cash to support terrorist organizations.

The indictment charged that from November 1995 to September 2003, Mr. al-Amoudi “devised a scheme to obtain money from Libya and other sources overseas for transmission into the United States” without attracting the attention of federal law enforcement authorities.

“The purpose of this scheme was to hide the amount of money he controlled, how and where he obtained it, and what he did with the money,” the indictment said.

It said that on Aug. 13, Mr. al-Amoudi received a phone call at his hotel in London from a person with a Libyan accent who stated he had “something” for him — which turned out to be a briefcase containing $340,000 in sequentially number bills.

The cash came from Islamic Call Society, a branch of the Libyan government. U.S. intelligence officials believe the society has been used to advance Moammar Gadhafi’s terrorist agenda, the indictment said.

If convicted, Mr. al-Amoudi faces up to 105 years in prison, and revocation of his U.S. citizenship.

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