Jewish World Review
http://www.jewishworldreview.com | (UPI) -- Government prosecutors said Enaam Arnaout, the head of an Islamic charity arrested last April, once signed letters for suspected terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden.
Unsealed court documents reportedly showed Arnaout had a close relationship with bin Laden and was allowed to sign bin Laden's alias, Abu Mahmoud, on fundraising letters.
Arnaout, 40, headed the Benevolence International Foundation, a charity accused of funneling money raised for humanitarian relief to terrorists in Sudan, Afghanistan, Bosnia and Chechnya. He faces trial Feb. 10 on charges of racketeering conspiracy, money laundering and aiding terrorists.
Arnaout's lawyers said the government's entire case relies entirely on circumstantial evidence.
"The picture presented by the (filing) is inaccurate and totally misleading, and that's why we have a trial," attorney Joseph Duffy told Thursday's Chicago Tribune. He called the prosecution's filing "nothing more than the government's version of what they would like the facts to be ..."
The Tribune reported a former BIF official, Mohamed Loay Bayazid, allegedly attempted to obtain uranium to help bin Laden develop an nuclear weapon when he represented the charity in 1993 or 1994.
Prosecutors alleged Bayazid, a Syrian-born naturalized U.S. citizen, was present at the founding of al Qaida in Afghanistan in 1988.
Federal agents raided BIF headquarters in southwest suburb Palos Hill, Ill., after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon carting off computers, records and files.
Papers including e-mail messages and memos among the more than 100 documents made public Wednesday indicate the charity received financial support from Microsoft Corp. and Compaq Computers through a program that matched employee charitable gifts with corporate contributions.
A handwritten list reportedly found at a BIF office in Bosnia referred to members of al Qaida, bin Laden's international terrorist network, as the "Golden Chain." Photographs of Arnaout with bin Laden also were found in the Bosnia office, prosecutors said.
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