A Pakistani money changer known for his ties with Indian don Dawood Ibrahim has been jailed for 68 months in the US for conspiring to commit money laundering, it was reported on Tuesday. Altaf Khanani, who has already spent over a year in a Miami jail, was also fined $250,000 by a Florida court, Dawn online reported. He was sentenced on March 29.
The remaining 13 counts of committing money laundering were dismissed at the request of the prosecution for Khanani’s cooperation in the probe. According to the US Treasury Department, his clientele included Chinese, Mexican and Colombian crime groups and designated terrorist organisations.
“Khanani is known to have had relationships with Lashkar-e-Taiba, Dawood Ibrahim, Al Qaeda and Jaish-e-Mohammed,” the Treasury Department said in November 2015, a few months after his arrest in the US.
Dawood Ibrahim is wanted in India for the 1993 Mumbai bombings. Indian security agencies say Ibrahim, originally an Indian, lives in Pakistan now as a Pakistani citizen. Islamabad denies this.
Khanani agreed to plead guilty and “make a full, accurate and complete disclosure… of the circumstances surrounding the relevant offence conduct”, according to the plea agreement signed in October 2016.
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The agreement said the prosecution will recommend leniency during sentencing as Khanani “has assisted authorities in the investigation or prosecution” of his crime.
The probe involved coordination from six law enforcement agencies from three countries — the US, Australia and the UAE.
Khanani and Kalia International (KKI) was one of the largest and most sophisticated exchange companies in Pakistan, running a global network of franchises that could move “billions of dollars” around the world.
Khanani has intimate knowledge of the bank accounts and intermediaries used by the groups whose money he was moving. The court committed Khanani to the custody of the Bureau of Prisons, with a recommendation that he serve his time in a local facility in Florida.
Upon his release, he will be handed over to immigration authorities for deportation proceedings. Khanani was in June 2015 indicted on 14 counts of money laundering, each carrying a 20-year jail term with a $250,000 fine, following a sting operation by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). He was arrested in September 2015 and has been in jail ever since.