Man formerly of Columbia admits illegally sending money to Iraq

Wednesday, April 7, 2010 | 8:43 a.m. CDT

KANSAS CITY — The former secretary of a Columbia-based Islamic charitable organization has pleaded guilty to illegally transferring money to Iraq.

Ali Mohamed Bagegni entered his plea Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Kansas City. He was a board member of the Islamic American Relief Agency, which was headquartered in Columbia until being shut down in 2004.

The federal government claims the American agency evolved from the Islamic African Relief Agency, a Sudanese group suspected of financing al-Qaida. The charity has denied that allegation.

Bagegni admitted sending money to Iraq during Saddam Hussein's reign, violating U.S. sanctions.

The 56-year-old native of Libya faces up to five years in prison. Sentencing has not been scheduled.


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