Brothers plead innocent to charges of money laundering for Hamas
US citizen Ghassan Elashi, vice president of InfoCom Corporation, Inc., an Information Technology (IT) firm based in Richardson, Texas, and his four brothers—Basman, Bayan, Hazim and Ihsan—have pleaded innocent to charges of money laundering for top official of the Palestinian Hamas group, Mousa Abu Marzuk, reported UPI.
The Elashi brothers, all InfoCom corporate officers, are also accused of illegally exporting computer technology to Libya and Syria, both designated “state sponsors of terrorism” by US authorities. The Elashis have allegedly conspired to violate US export control laws by undervaluing goods and filing false and deceptive shipping declarations. Infocom, had its assets seized and frozen on this charge six days before the September 11 terrorist attacks, in early September 2001.
Marzuk was labeled a “terrorist” by US authorities and deported in 1997. It was since made illegal for Americans to maintain financial dealings with him. A 33-count federal indictment is pending against Marzuk and his wife, who are believed to be in Syria. Nadia, wife of Marzuk is cousin to the Elashi brothers. Marzuk had reportedly invested $250,000 in the InfoCom start up.
Brought before a federal court on Friday, January 31, 2003, the Elashis were scheduled a trial for October 6, 2003. Until then, Ghassan’s movements will be restricted by electronic monitoring while his brothers remain in custody.
In December 2001, US federal government froze the local assets of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, a Texas-based Islamic charity foundation, whose board chairman was Ghassan Elashi. US authorities alleged that the organization acted as a front to finance Hamas. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)