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Former US congressman indicted in terrorism funding case

[JURIST] Mark Deli Siljander [US Congress profile], a former Republican US congressman from Michigan and US representative to the United Nations, was indicted [indictment, PDF; DOJ press release] Wednesday for conspiracy to commit money laundering, money laundering, obstruction of justice, and forfeiture. The charges stem from Siljander's association with the now defunct charity Islamic American Relief Agency (IARA), which allegedly funneled funds to key Taliban and al-Qaeda ally Gulbuddin Hekmatyar [BBC profile]. IARA was the American affiliate of the Islamic African Relief Agency, an organization based in Khartoum, Sudan and designated by the US Treasury Department as a supporter of global terrorism [Treasury Department press release] on October 13, 2004.

IARA is accused of commingling charitable donations and funds obtained through cooperative agreements with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) [agency website]. IARA allegedly used the commingled funds to pay Siljander for his lobbying to get IARA removed from the US Treasury terror list, as well as pass money to Hekmatyar and terrorist organizations. Siljander allegedly received $50,000 from IARA. BBC News has more. Reuters has additional coverage.

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