Iraqi-American Sentenced for Illegal Currency Transactions

A well-known businessman and cultural leader from Columbia, Missouri, has been sentenced to three years in federal prison for illegally siphoning more than $200,000 to Iraq during sanctions between 1991 and 2003.

Shakir Hamoodi, an Iraqi-American store owner and former nuclear scientist with the University of Missouri, pleaded guilty in December 2009 to violating federal sanctions against Iraq.

Hamoodi told the judge: “I made a mistake, and I am deeply sorry ... All money sent was used by friends and family.”

Investigators found no proof that Hamoodi was aiding the Iraqi government through his financial contributions.

The judege said Hamoodi’s efforts to diffuse cultural ignorance toward Muslims and educate local residents about the practice of Islam over the past 20 years weighed heavily in her decision.

Hamoodi could have obtained a license during the sanctions through the Department of the Treasury, but that would have only allowed for the transfer of goods, not money.

(Source: Columbia Tribune)

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