March 26, 2010 / 9:40 PM / 9 years ago

Chicago taxi driver charged with aiding terrorist

CHICAGO (Reuters) - A Chicago taxi driver was arrested on Friday and accused of sending money to a Pakistani militant with al Qaeda ties and of planning to bomb a U.S. sports stadium, authorities said.

Raja Khan, a U.S. citizen since 1988, told an undercover government agent he had met Ilyas Kashmiri, a Pakistani Islamic militant accused in a separate case of plotting to attack a Danish newspaper, according to court documents.

The arrest of Khan, 56, has nothing to do with the case against American David Headley and Pakistani-born Chicago businessman Tahawwur Rana, in which Kashmiri and a former Pakistani Army officer are also charged, prosecutors said.

Khan met with Kashmiri at least once in Pakistan and Kashmiri told him he “wanted to train operatives to conduct attacks in the United States,” a statement by the U.S. attorney’s office said.

Kashmiri showed Khan a video of a bombing and asked him for money to purchase materials on the black market.

In November, Khan wired $950 to an unidentified individual in Pakistan intended for Kashmiri — whom Khan referred to as “Lala,” or older brother, to disguise his identity because Khan thought his phones might be tapped.

Khan later attempted to use his son to send Kashmiri another $700 out of $1,000 given to him by the undercover agent. U.S. agents on Tuesday intercepted Khan’s son at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport before his flight to London.

Two weeks ago, Khan discussed with another unidentified man a plan to attack a stadium in the United States with remote controlled bombs, an idea that may have been Khan’s alone and not Kashmiri’s, the prosecutor’s statement said.

“While there was no imminent danger in the Chicago area or elsewhere, these charges, once again, affirm that law enforcement must remain constantly vigilant to guard against domestic support of foreign terrorist organizations,” said Patrick Fitzgerald, the U.S. attorney in Chicago.

Khan was charged with two counts of providing material support to terrorism, with each count carrying a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Reporting by Andrew Stern; Editing by Doina Chiacu

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