Washington: The US has labelled a Pakistan- based money changer as a “global terrorist” for providing financial services to banned LeT terror group that has been involved in a series of terrorist attacks in India, including the 2008 Mumbai attacks that left 166 people dead.
The US Department of the Treasury targeted the leadership and financial networks of LeT (Lashkar-e-Taiba) 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, 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,” said Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S Cohen.
Iqbal is a founding member of LeT-affiliated NGO Falah-i- Insaniat Foundation’s (FIF) governing board. The State Department identified FIF as an alias of LT in November 2010.
Iqbal uses his business, Asma Money Exchangers (AME), to conduct financial transactions on behalf of LT and its affiliates, the Treasury said.
As of April 2013, Iqbal informed customers that they could send money from AME to LT front Jamaat-ud Dawa (JUD), which the US identified as an alias of LT in April 2006.
As of 2010, Iqbal has also served as FIF’s Finance secretary. In this role, he shared responsibility along with six other FIF officers for approving new members of the group.
Iqbal and these six FIF officers were also responsible for identifying banks to hold FIF funds and endorsing, signing and delivering check drafts and other money payment orders on behalf of FIF.
During this time, Iqbal sent about USD 25,000 to LeT operations chief and SDGT Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and assisted LeT chief financial officer and Haji Muhammad Ashraf in sending money to an LeT associate, the Treasury said.
Asma Money Exchangers (AME) is a money service provider and currency exchange business controlled by Iqbal. AME has provided financial services to LeT since late 2005.
As a result of the sanctions, all property and interests in the US or in the possession or control of US persons in which Iqbal and Asma Money Exchangers have an interest are blocked, and US persons are prohibited from engaging in transactions with them, the Treasury said.