New York resident indicted for hawala activities in attempted Times Square bombing

By Christine Duhaime | September 15th, 2010

The US Attorney for the Southern District of New York today announced the filing of an indictment (Download Younis Indictment) charging Mohammad Younis with operating an unlicensed money transfer business that allegedly facilitated the attempted car bombing in New York City's Time Square on May 1, 2010. According to the indictment, Younis provided money transmitting services as a hawala. A hawala is an informal system of money transfer whereby funds are transferred by customers to a hawala operator, called a hawaladar, in one country and disbursed to recipients in another country by other hawaladar associates. Younis is alleged to have made two hawala transactions in Long Island on instructions from a hawaladar in Pakistan, without being licensed to operate a money transmitting business. One of the individuals to whom Younis provided funds was Faisal Shahzad who pleaded guilty earlier this year to attempting to blow up a car bomb in Times Square. According to Shahzad, the hawala funds originated from the Pakistani-based group Tehrik-e Taliban, a militant extremist group. The Tehrik-e Taliban was listed on September 1, 2010 as a terrorist organization in the United States. Thus far, the group is not a listed entity in Canada. The US Attorney has said that Younis was unaware that the funds provided through the hawala system to Shahzad were intended to fund terrorism. If convicted, Younis faces a ten-year term of imprisonment.

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