- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 24, 2020

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - A Kentucky Islamic leader was sentenced to two years in prison for conspiring to kidnap a man who owed him money.

Former Lexington imam Mahmoud Shaker Shalash will also serve five years of supervised release after his two-year prison sentence, The Lexington Herald-Leader reported. Shalash was also ordered to pay a $20,000 fine and forfeit $81,861.99.

Shalash pleaded guilty in January to conspiring to kidnap someone and two counts of money laundering.

The former imam of the Islamic Center of Lexington was also accused of trying to hire a hit man in May 2019, but that count was dismissed as part of the plea agreement, according to court records.

A law enforcement informant posing as a hit man first met with Shalash in the spring of 2019, according to affidavits filed in federal court.

Shalash told the informant a person owed him $80,000 and asked the informant to do whatever he had to to get the money back, including breaking the person’s legs. Two associates of Shalash, John Sadiqullah and Abdul Hadi, later asked the informant to kill a second person they believed had cheated them in business deals, the affidavits said.

Sadiqullah, whose actual first name is unknown, was convicted in February of being involved in the conspiracy to kidnap another man and the murder-for-hire conspiracy. He is set to be sentenced in July.

Hadi was acquitted of the charges against him.

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