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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Pakistan funded Washington lobby group, Culprit is in Federal Custody - U.S. says!

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By the CNN Wire Staff / July 19, 2011 -- Updated 2341 GMT (0741 HKT).

Washington (CNN) -- Pakistani intelligence secretly funneled at least $4 million to a Washington front group whose leaders improperly lobbied U.S. officials over the disputed territory of Kashmir, federal agents alleged Tuesday.

A Pakistani-American man who served as director of the Kashmiri American Council is in federal custody, while a second man accused of steering money to the organization is believed to be in Pakistan, the Justice Department said. The KAC director, Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai, "acted at the direction and with the financial support of the government of Pakistan for more than 20 years," an FBI arrest affidavit states.

One U.S. congressman quickly gave $4,000 donated by the two men charged in the case to charity, while another said he would consider a similar move if the source of the money was in question.

Fai and his co-defendant, Zaheer Ahmad, have been charged with conspiring to violate the Foreign Agents Registration Act, which requires lobbyists acting on behalf of another nation to register with the U.S. government. The charge carries a possible prison term of up to five years.

Short, balding and bespectacled, Fai made a brief initial appearance in federal court in the Washington suburb of Alexandria, Virginia, Tuesday afternoon. He wore a short-sleeved, checked shirt and dark slacks at the hearing, during which no plea was entered.

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