From: "Pedro Martori"
Subject: Islamic charity director indicted on racketeering charges
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Date: Wed, 9 Oct 2002 19:23:50 -0400
NNTP-Posting-Date: Wed, 09 Oct 2002 19:23:40 EDT
Organization: Bell Sympatico
Islamic charity director indicted on racketeering charges,
fraudulently obtaining donations to support Osama bin Laden's
October 9, 2002 Posted: 7:08 PM EDT (2308 GMT)
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CHICAGO - Head of Islamic charity Benevolence International
Foundation indicted on racketeering charges, Justice Department
The leader of a Chicago-area Islamic charity was indicted on
racketeering charges Wednesday, and the U.S. government accused
him of fraudulently obtaining donations to support Osama bin
Laden's terrorist network.
Islamic charity director indicted on racketeering charges
A federal grand jury returned the indictment against Enaam
Arnaout, 40, of the Chicago suburb of Justice.
A Syrian born naturalized citizen, Arnaout is executive director
of Benevolence International Foundation. Arnaout has been in
federal custody since his arrest April 30.
The seven counts include mail fraud, obstruction of justice,
money laundering and providing material support to organizations
engaged in violent activities.
"The indictment describes a multinational criminal enterprise
that for at least a decade used charitable contributions of
innocent Americans -- Muslim, non-Muslim and corporations
alike -- to support al Qaeda, the Chechen mujahideen and armed
violence in Bosnia," the Justice Department said in a written
The indictment outlines a series of specific deliveries of money
and equipment for use by the terrorist groups including missiles,
bombs, mortars, dynamite and a satellite phone.
Attorney General John Ashcroft announced the indictment at a
Wednesday afternoon news conference in Chicago.
The FBI contends Arnaout has had a decades-long relationship with
Osama bin Laden and his associates.
At a previous court hearing, prosecutors presented evidence that
included photos that they said tied Arnaout to Osama bin Laden.
Only one of the photos was dated -- in the late 1980s. Defense
attorneys argued they were all old and outdated. They also argued
that the man shown was not Arnaout.
Prosecutors also presented evidence that BIF channeled $685,000
to Chechnya during four months in 2000. It said the money went to
various terrorist groups, including bin Laden's al Qaeda network.
The government froze the charity's assets last year, suspecting
it of supporting terrorist activity.
BIF's main office is in Palos Hills, a Chicago suburb.
-- CNN Producer Rob Hess contributed to this story
© 2002 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.