A former board member of the now defunct Islamic American Relief Agency (IARA) has pled guilty to illegally transferring funds to Iraq in violation of existing sanctions.
Ali Mohamed Bagegni, a native of Libya, was associated with IARA beginning in 1991. While with IARA, Bagegni served as a member of the board of directors as its secretary. He continued in that role until October 14, 2004, when the U.S. Treasury Department froze the assets of IARA.
According to an indictment filed on January 16, 2008, Bagegni and IARI illegally solicited and transferred funds from the United States to Iraq. The law that the organization was alleged to have broken, the Iraq Sanctions Regulations, was issued by President George H.W. Bush in 1990 and prohibited unauthorized transfer of money or goods to Iraq by Americans.
With Bagegni's guilty plea, the Justice Department lands another victory in cutting off the flow of funds to insurgent groups in Iraq. Under federal statutes, he can be sentenced for up to five years in prison, plus face a fine of up to $250,000.