Pak immigrant charged with funding Times Square bomber

Younis, who lives in Long Island, allegedly gave thousands of dollars to Shahzad as part of a "hawala" money transfer from Pakistan, which is an informal banking system but has come under disrepute, in recent years, for being used to funnel money to extremist groups. However, 44-year-old Younis was unaware that money would be used in a terror plot, which had been hatched while Shahzad was training with the Taliban in Pakistan, according to the prosecution.

Younis, who has been charged for operating an unlicensed money transfer business and conspiracy, pleaded not guilty and could be sentenced up to 10 years in prison if convicted. "These charges remind us how international terrorists use the cover of informal money transfer systems to avoid detection and to inflict catastrophic harm," Preet Bharara from the US attorney's office was quoted as saying by the New York Post.

Three months go, Shahzad pleaded guilty to trying to detonate a car bomb hidden in a Nissan Pathfinder in a crowded area of Times Square on May 1. The indictment against Shahzad stated that on February 25, he received USD 5,000 in cash in Massachusetts from a "co-conspirator", who was identified only as "CC-1".

The first round of money was followed by another USD 7,000 that was picked up in Long Island also allegedly from "CC-1". Younis arranged the money to be paid to Shahzad at the direction of a co-conspirator in Pakistan, the new indictment charged, according to The New York Times, but it does not identify the co-conspirator.

The indictment further stated that Shahzad met Younis on Long Island on April 10, who gave him thousands of dollars. "My client is not a terrorist. Younis has no ties to terrorism," said his lawyer Phil Solages after the hearing yesterday.

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