The Department of Justice announced Wednesday that a Fairfax, Va., man, Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai, pleaded guilty to a scheme to cover up $3.5 million paid by the Pakistani government to fund lobbying efforts on behalf of its policy in Kashmir.
Fai was the director of the Kashmiri American Council, a Washington nongovernmental organization that claimed to raise funds in the United States to advocate on behalf of self-determination for the Kashmiri people.
According to the Justice Department, however, the council and Fai were secretly funded by Pakistani government officials to try and influence U.S. policy on Kashmir.
"For the last 20 years, Mr. Fai secretly took millions of dollars from Pakistani intelligence and lied about it to the U.S. government,” Neil MacBride, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said in a written 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, according to the Justice Department, repeatedly lied about how the council received money and the scope of his contacts with the Pakistani government, especially the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, or ISI.
Fai admitted that from 1990 until he was arrested on July 19, he concealed the transfer of at least $3.5 million from Pakistani government officials to the council. The money would go to middlemen, who would then pass it along to the council.
Nina Ginsberg of DiMuro Ginsberg in Alexiandria, Va., is listed in the plea agreement (PDF) as Fai’s attorney; she was not immediately available for comment Wednesday afternoon. A representative of the council could not immediately be reached.
Fai faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison on the first charge of conspiracy and a maximum of three years for the second charge of tax evasion. U.S. District Court Judge Liam O’Grady scheduled sentencing for March 9.