SEATTLE – An Iraqi immigrant pleaded innocent Monday to taking part in an alleged scheme to funnel more than $12 million to Iraq.
Hussein Alshafei, who remains free on $100,000 bail, is one of 12 men indicted last month on federal charges of violating or conspiring to violate a decade-old U.S. embargo on sending money and goods to Iraq.
Alshafei is accused of using his money wiring service, Alshafei Family Connect, to send $12.1 million dollars to Iraq over five years.
Alshafei acknowledges he sent money from Iraqi refugees in the United States to their friends and relatives in the Middle East. Government lawyers allege funds went to finance Iraqi businesses and property, but have reported no evidence of any link to terrorism or Saddam Hussein's regime.
Alshafei is charged with one count of conspiracy to launder money and 34 counts of money laundering. If convicted, he could face up to 20 years in prison on each count and millions in fines.
Trial was scheduled for Feb. 18.