Bloomberg News

Ex-Congressman Siljander Sentenced for Obstructing Justice

January 12, 2012

(Updates with prosecutor’s comment in fourth paragraph.)

Jan. 11 (Bloomberg) -- Mark Deli Siljander, a former U.S. congressman who in 2010 pleaded guilty to obstructing justice and acting as an unregistered foreign agent, was sentenced to a year and a day in prison.

Siljander, 60, a Michigan Republican who served in Congress from 1981 to 1987, was charged as part of a wider criminal case against members of the Islamic American Relief Agency, which prosecutors said had ties to the Pakistani Taliban, al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, who was killed by U.S. forces in May.

He was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey in Kansas City, Missouri. Four members of the now- defunct Columbia, Missouri-based IARA were also sentenced, U.S. Attorney Beth Phillips said in a statement.

After secretly sending more than $1 million to Iraq in violation of U.S. economic sanctions, “IARA then hired a former congressman to lobby the government on its behalf after it was listed as a specially designated global terrorist organization,” the prosecutor said.

The group’s executive director, Mubarak Hamed, and fundraiser Abdel Azim El-Siddiq in 2004 hired Siljander to lobby for the group’s removal from a U.S. Senate list of charities suspected of aiding international terrorism, Phillips said.

Hidden Payment

The men agreed they would hide IARA’s $75,000 payment to Siljander, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations General Assembly, by sending it through nonprofit entities.

“In her conscientious sentencing, the court noted that Mr. Siljander did not aid terrorists or terrorism,” Linda Moreno, an attorney for the former lawmaker, said in an e-mail. “He has accepted responsibility for his conduct and expressed a genuine remorse for his actions and their devastating effect on his family.”

Hamed was sentenced today to four years and 10 months in prison. In 2010, he admitted to illegally transferring more than $1 million to Iraq. El-Siddiq, who confessed to conspiring to hire Siljander as a lobbyist, got two years’ probation.

El-Siddiq’s attorney, Jean Paul Bradshaw of Kansas City, didn’t immediately reply to an e-mailed request for comment on the sentence. Bradshaw once held the post now held by Phillips.

Curtis Woods, an attorney for Hamed, didn’t immediately reply to voice-mail and e-mail messages seeking comment after regular business hours. He’s a partner in the Kansas City office of Chicago-based SNR Denton US LLP.

The case is U.S. v. Islamic American Relief Agency, 07-cr- 00087, U.S. District Court, Western District of Missouri (Kansas City).

--Editors: Peter Blumberg, Andrew Dunn

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Harris in Chicago at aharris16@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net


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