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U.S. citizen pleads guilty to sending funds to al Qaeda

By Terry Frieden, CNN
Khalid Ouazzani pledged an oath of allegiance to al Qaeda in 2008, federal officials say.
Khalid Ouazzani pledged an oath of allegiance to al Qaeda in 2008, federal officials say.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Officials: Khalid Ouazzani, 32, admits giving more than $23,000 to al Qaeda
  • Ouazzani is naturalized U.S. citizen from Morocco; arrest, indictment had been kept secret
  • U.S. attorney: Money came from sale of an auto parts business, apartment
  • Law firm: Ouazzani deeply regrets what he has done

(CNN) -- A Moroccan native living in Kansas City, Missouri, pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to providing funds to the al Qaeda terrorist organization.

Khalid Ouazzani, 32, admitted providing more than $23,000 to al Qaeda, to which he had pledged an oath of allegiance in 2008, federal officials said.

Ouazzani, a naturalized U.S. citizen, also pleaded guilty to bank fraud and money laundering in his financial support to al Qaeda.

Ouazzani was arrested "early this year," but his arrest and detention were kept secret until Wednesday, officials said.

He was secretly indicted by a federal grand jury in Kansas City on February 3, according to Beth Phillips, the U.S. attorney in Kansas City.

Phillips said the funds provided to al Qaeda came from his sale of an auto parts business and an apartment sale in the United Arab Emirates.

Video: U.S. citizen gave funds to al Qaeda
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The Justice Department said Ouazzani faces up to 65 years in prison without parole and a fine of up to $1 million.

A law firm representing Ouazzani said the guilty plea represents an acknowledgement of "the wrongfulness of his acts."

"He deeply regrets what he has done, and is taking steps to atone, to the extent he can, for his crimes," said a statement from his defense counsel at Bath & Edmonds in nearby Overland Park, Kansas.

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