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Two Pak men held in Italy for facilitating 26/11

Italian police on Saturday arrested a Pakistani father-son duo accused of helping fund and providing logistical support for last year’s terrorist attacks in Mumbai,authorities said....

Written by Associated Press | Rome |
November 22, 2009 3:59:33 am

Italian police on Saturday arrested a Pakistani father-son duo accused of helping fund and providing logistical support for last year’s terrorist attacks in Mumbai,authorities said.

The two were arrested in an early morning raid in Brescia,where they managed a money transfer agency,police in the northern Italian city said.

The day before the attacks began on November 26,they allegedly sent money using a stolen identity to a US company to activate Internet phone accounts used by the attackers and their handlers,said Stefano Fonsi,the head of anti-terror police in Brescia. The transfer was just $229 but gave the attackers five lines over the Internet,which are difficult to trace and allowed militants to keep in touch even during the rampage,Fonsi said.

Italian police began the probe in December after being alerted by the FBI and Indian police about the transfer,Fonsi told The Associated Press.

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The funds were transferred under the identity of another Pakistani man who had never been to Italy and was not involved in the attacks,Fonsi said. He lives in Spain and his identity was probably stolen when he used another money transfer agency somewhere in the world,Fonsi later told a news conference. The order to open the accounts with the Callphonex company came from two men in Pakistan,he said. Fonsi added that Italian authorities had shared details of their identities with Pakistani officials. The two suspects in Brescia,identified in a police statement as 60-year-old Mohammad Yaqub Janjua and 31-year-old Aamer Yaqub Janjua,are accused of aiding and abetting international terrorism as well as illegal financial activity.

Their agency,which operated on the Western Union money transfer network,was seized by police. Transferring funds using the identity of other people was a common practice at the Madina Trading agency in Brescia,and the Italian probe broke up a ring of people who used the system,Fonsi said.

Two more Pakistanis were arrested in Saturday’s raids for allegedly committing fraud,money laundering and other crimes through the masked transfers,but they were not linked to the Mumbai attacks. A fifth Pakistani man escaped arrest and was still being sought. An additional 12 people were flagged to prosecutors for possible investigation but were not arrested,Fonsi said.

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Just by using the stolen identity,the suspects had transferred some euro 400,000 ($590,000) between 2006 and 2008 to various countries. The network also used its contacts in Pakistan to help illegal immigrants enter Italy,Fonsi said.

(Associated Press Writer Andrea De Benedetti contributed to this report)

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First published on: 22-11-2009 at 03:59:33 am

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