Kansas City auto dealer pleads guilty to aiding al-Qaida

Wednesday, May 19, 2010 | 2:01 p.m. CDT; updated 9:03 a.m. CDT, Thursday, May 20, 2010

KANSAS CITY — A Kansas City used car and auto parts dealer admitted Wednesday in federal court to sending money to al-Qaida, prosecutors said.

Khalid Ouazzani, 32, a Moroccan-born naturalized U.S. citizen, pleaded guilty to several terrorism-related charges, telling a judge that he sent $23,500 to the terrorist organization through a bank in the United Arab Emirates between August and November 2007, prosecutors said.

He also admitted that in June 2008, he swore to an unnamed co-conspirator an oath of allegiance to al-Qaida, prosecutors said.

Ouazzani also pleaded guilty to money laundering and bank fraud in a scheme to steal more than $174,000 from a bank using false and fraudulent financial information, prosecutors said.

Court records said Ouazzani "used various techniques to disguise their communications about their plans and assistance to support" al-Qaida.

A message left with Ouazzani's attorneys by The Associated Press seeking comment was not immediately returned Wednesday. The Kansas City Star reported that his the attorneys, Robin Fowler and Tricia Tenpenny, released a statement that said their client has accepted responsibility for his conduct.

Ouazzani faces a possible sentence of 30 years to life in prison.


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