Accused Pakistani agent scheduled to enter plea

AP News
Posted: Dec 06, 2011 4:25 PM
Accused Pakistani agent scheduled to enter plea

A Virginia man accused of secretly receiving millions of dollars from Pakistan's spy service while he lobbied Congress on the disputed Kashmir territory is expected to plead guilty to federal charges Wednesday.

A hearing was scheduled in U.S. District Court in Alexandria for Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai, who was executive director of the Kashmiri American Council at the time of his July arrest.

An FBI affidavit said Fai received $500,000 to $700,000 a year from Pakistani intelligence, but never disclosed those links while serving as a supposedly independent lobbyist on Kashmir, a region whose control is sharply disputed by Pakistan and India.

A court paper indicated Fai is likely to enter a plea on a broad conspiracy charge and a second count of impeding the Internal Revenue Service. No details were available.

The charges filed against Fai in July were more specific, accusing him of a conspiracy to act as an unregistered foreign agent.

According to the affidavit, Fai worked for more than a decade to influence public opinion in the U.S. and Congress on Kashmir. A cooperating witness told the FBI that 80 percent of Fai's efforts were specifically dictated to him by the ISI, as Pakistan's spy service is known.

When Fai was arrested, the Pakistani embassy said it had no knowledge of any arrangements between Fai and ISI.

Relations between the U.S. and Pakistan are delicate, and particularly so with the ISI, which some U.S. officials have accused of supporting militant and terrorist groups. Cooperation between the ISI and U.S. forces was especially strained after Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. forces inside Pakistan without consulting Pakistani officials.

Peter Carr, a U.S. attorney spokesman, declined comment Tuesday except to confirm the hearing had been scheduled.

Fai's lawyer, Nina Ginsberg, did not return a call seeking comment. The number listed for the Kashmiri American Council has been disconnected.