Ahmed Nasir Taalil Mohamud, a taxi cab driver in California, has been sentenced to six years in prison for transferring funds overseas to the terrorist group al-Shabaab. His fellow conspirators–another cabbie, an imam, and a hawala dealer–were sentenced to longer terms previously.
Money Jihad readers will recall that this case illustrates how the Somali remittance industry is fraught with the constant risk of funding al-Shabaab. U.S. and British banks that have ceased doing business with Somali hawala houses like Shidaal Express, Qaran Financial Express, and wire services companies such as Dahabshiil, are well-justified if not required by anti-money laundering and know-your-customer requirements to sever such ties. The humanitarian benefits of sending money to Somalia are far outweighed by the high probability that the money will be directed to, diverted by, or extorted for al-Shabaab to buy weapons and carry out operations that ultimately harm more Somalis than such money helps.
U-T San Diego reports (h/t Arun Hindu):
Final sentence in Somali terror case
By Kristina Davis, Jan. 31, 2014
SAN DIEGO — An Anaheim cabdriver who raised funds to aid terrorists in his war-torn homeland of Somalia was sentenced Friday to six years in prison, where he will join three other San Diego Somalis who were sentenced in the scheme two months ago.
Ahmed Nasir Taalil Mohamud, 38, played the most minor role among the four men, said U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Miller.
Prosecutors say Nasir raised about $1,000 from other cabdrivers in Orange County to send to al-Shabab fighters, who are using violence to try to overthrow the East African country’s transitional government.
The fundraising was coordinated by Basaaly Moalin, a San Diego taxi driver in contact with al-Shabab overseas.
Moalin, a naturalized U.S. citizen, was given 18 years in prison — the longest term — when he was sentenced in November.
Mohamed Mohamed Mohamud, who used his influence on the local Somali community as a City Heights imam, got 13 years. Issa Doreh, who worked at a money transfer business the men used, received 10 years.
The men have already served three years and will be required to serve at least 80 percent of their terms.
Even though Nasir’s role was minor, Assistant U.S. Attorney William Cole said in court that Nasir and Moalin were talking about real people’s lives when it came to what the money would be used for.
“It was a serious offense,” Cole said.
Nasir and Moalin met years earlier in St. Louis, where Nasir had moved to work as a cabdriver, said his lawyer, Thomas Durkin. They then moved to California, where they could make more money…