By Rachel Leven - 12/07/11 06:08 PM EST
A United States citizen pleaded guilty Wednesday to Justice Department charges that he conspired and incurred tax violations while acting as an unregistered lobbying agent for the Pakistani government.
Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai is one of two individuals charged in mid-July for not registering lobbying work on behalf of the Pakistani government, thereby violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).
“Mr. Fai purposefully hid financial transactions from the U.S. government, with intentions that his scheme to fund lobbying efforts by a foreign government would go unnoticed,” James McJunkin, assistant director in charge at the Federal Bureau of Investigations, said in a statement.
“The FBI will detect and defeat those who attempt to surreptitiously exert foreign influence on our government by using agents who conceal their foreign affiliation.”
Fai could incur up to eights years in prison for the conspiracy and tax violations. He will be sentenced March 9, 2012.
The Fairfax, Va., resident “agreed to forfeit his interest” in almost $143,000, which the government “seized” in July as part of a plea agreement.
Fai served as the director of the Kashmiri American Council, which works to raise awareness about Kashmir in the United States.
Even though the council was registered as a non-governmental organization supposedly supported financially by Americans, the council “was secretly funded by officials employed by the government of Pakistan, including the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI).”
He “conceal[ed] the transfer of at least $3.5 million from the government of Pakistan to fund his lobbying efforts in America related to Kashmir” for more than 20 years.
“The illegal activity in this case, including tax charges and abuse of charitable organizations, harms all Americans, as we all have to pay our fair share for the government services and protections that we enjoy,” said IRS special agent in charge Jeannine Hammett.