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US slaps sanctions against suspected LeT leader, its financial conduit

PTI 28 Aug 2014, 12:29:50 PM IST
Washington: The United States on Wednesday slapped sanctions against a suspected Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) leader and a financial conduit of the Pakistan-based terrorist group that has been involved in a series of attacks in India, including the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

The US Department of Treasury targeted the leadership and financial networks of LeT by designating Muhammad Iqbal and Asma Money Exchangers as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs).

Iqbal and Asma Money Exchangers are being designated for providing financial, material, or technological support to, or financial or other services to or in support of LeT.

Asma Money Exchangers is also designated for being owned or controlled by Iqbal, the Treasury said.

"Muhammad Iqbal exploited the trust placed in him as a financial intermediary to help LT receive money through his business, Asma Money Exchangers," Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S Cohen said.

"Money service providers and other financial institutions must be careful gatekeepers, and keep terrorist money out of the international financial system," he added.

Iqbal is a founding member of LeT-affiliated NGO Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation's (FIF) governing board.

Since its inception LeT has been focused on carrying out major terrorist attacks inside India.

LeT claimed responsibility for the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks that killed at least 166 people.

The State Department identified FIF as an alias of the LeT in November 2010.

"Iqbal uses his business, Asma Money Exchangers (AME), to conduct financial transactions on behalf of the LeT and its affiliates," the Treasury said.

As of April 2013, Iqbal informed customers that they could send money from AME to LeT front Jamaat-ud Dawa (JUD), which the State Department identified as an alias of LeT in April 2006.

As of 2010, Iqbal has also served as FIF's Finance secretary.

In this role, Iqbal shared responsibility along with six other FIF officers for approving new members of the group.