Lobbyist Pleads Guilty to Concealing Pakistan Money

Posted December 7, 2011 at 12:44pm

A Virginia lobbyist pleaded guilty today in a conspiracy to conceal the transfer of at least $3.5 million from the government of Pakistan to a non-governmental organization that purported to be funded by American citizens with an interest in Kashmir-American relations.

Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai, 62, of Fairfax, Va., was arrested in July on suspicion that he had masterminded a decades-long scheme to conceal money from sources within the government of Pakistan, including its intelligence agency, that went to the Kashmiri American Council, a Washington, D.C.-based organization that sought to educate the United States about the Kashmiri people.

Fai admitted today that from 1990 until his arrest he conspired to conceal the funds flowing from the Pakistani government to his organization and did not report the transactions to the government as required or pay the appropriate taxes to the Internal Revenue Service, according to a Justice Department announcement.

Fai pleaded guilty to conspiracy and tax violations and faces a maximum sentence of up to eight years in prison.

“For the last 20 years, Mr. Fai secretly took millions of dollars from Pakistani intelligence and lied about it to the U.S. government,” U.S. Attorney Neil MacBride said in a statement. “As a paid operative of ISI, he did the bidding of his handlers in Pakistan while he met with U.S. elected officials, funded high-profile conferences and promoted the Kashmiri cause to decision-makers in Washington.”

Fai will be sentenced in the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Virginia on March 9. As part of his plea agreement, he agreed to forfeit $142,851.32 that was seized by the government at the time of his arrest in July.

Correction: Nov. 7

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated when Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai pleaded guilty. It happened today.