U.S. Prosecutors Try New Legal Strategy In Investigation of U.S. Islamic FoundationBy
The New York Sun has reported on a new legal strategy being pursued by government prosecutors in their ongoing investigation into the defunct SAAR Foundation, suspected of terrorist financing and strongly associated with the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood. The SAAR Foundation and related entities were raided in 2002. According to the latest article:
Federal prosecutors tracking a Saudi-backed American foundation accused of ties to terrorists are tightening the screws on their target, levying half a million dollars in contempt-of-court fines and moving to pierce the attorney-client privilege as a way of getting information from a lawyer who represented the foundation….At issue during Friday’s hearing was a subpoena received by a Missouri-based attorney, Bruce Hopkins, who is an expert in nonprofit law and has testified before the House of Representatives on tax exemptions. Mr. Hopkins was the longtime attorney for the now-defunct SAAR Foundation, which was an umbrella group for several Muslim groups that are funded by Saudis. In 2002, law enforcement officers raided the offices and homes of several people and organizations connected to the SAAR Foundation, which had officially dissolved in 2000. In the years since, the group has been fined “more than $500,000″ for contempt of court for failing to turn over documents subpoenaed by the grand jury investigation, an assistant U.S. attorney, Gordon Kromberg, told the Fourth Circuit. The fines have not been paid, however, because the SAAR Foundation no longer has assets in its name in this country, Mr. Kromberg said……..Friday’s arguments focused on whether Mr. Hopkins was protected from responding to the grand jury subpoena because of an attorney-client privilege that made his communications with SAAR confidential. The court’s decision will hinge on the question of whether that legal privilege applies to defunct corporations, such as SAAR. The judges on the panel, Allyson Duncan, Diana Motz, and William Traxler, Jr., did not rule immediately and gave no indication which side they favored. It was unclear from the hearing whether Mr. Kromberg was seeking Mr. Hopkins’ testimony before the grand jury or just documents in his possession that are related to the SAAR Foundation.
The SAAR foundation was established in 1983 by individuals who had also established some of the most important U.S, Muslim Brotherhood organizations including the Muslim Student Association, the Islamic society of North America, and the International Institute of Islamic Thought. SAAR is generally thought to have been funded by the Al-Rajhi family of Saudi Arabia and while the foundation disclosed its donations to a number of U.S. organizations, large donations were also made to offshore Trusts in the Isle of Man which prosecutors have been so unable to trace.