U.S. News

U.S. charges Pakistani tied to Times Square bomber

BOSTON (Reuters) - U.S. authorities on Tuesday filed immigration fraud charges against a Pakistani man they said provided nearly $5,000 to the convicted Times Square bomber apparently without knowing how the money would be used.

The Department of Justice said Aftab Ali, 28, entered the United States in August 2009 on a visa that allowed him entry to marry an American woman, despite her having broken off the engagement six months earlier.

Ali later tried to amend his immigration papers after he married another American woman, which violated the terms of his work permit, prosecutors said.

In February 2010 he transferred $4,900 to Faisal Shahzad, who on October 5 was sentenced to life in prison for trying to set off a car bomb in New York’s busy Times Square in May.

Authorities did not say he was aware of Shahzad’s plans for the money, which was transferred as part of an informal “hawala” transaction common in Islamic societies, according to papers filed in U.S. District Court in Boston.

Ali faces two charges, immigration fraud and making false statements. The first charge carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.

He lived in Watertown, Massachusetts, just outside Boston and worked illegally at a gas station during his time in the United States, authorities said.

Another Pakistani immigrant, Mohammad Younis, was charged in September with running an illegal money transfer business that provided funds to Shahzad. He also was not charged with knowing how the money would be used.

Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Xavier Briand