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Thursday, May 8, 2008
(202) 514-2007
TDD (202) 514-1888

DOD Employee Arrested for Filing a False Federal Tax Return

WASHINGTON – A U.S. Department of Defense civilian employee working at the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait City, Kuwait, was arrested and charged with filing a false federal tax return for the 2005 tax year, Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division Alice S. Fisher and Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division Thomas O. Barnett announced today.

Tijani Ahmed Saani, 51, a resident of Kuwait City, Kuwait, was arrested in New York on May 7, 2008, and charged in a criminal complaint unsealed today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia with filing a false federal tax return.

According to the affidavit filed in support of the arrest warrant, Saani signed his 2005 tax return in which he denied having any interest in or a signature or other authority over a financial account in a foreign country.  However, an investigation revealed that Saani maintained an account with HSBC Bank International Limited in the Jersey Channel Islands and that more than $700,000 passed though the account from 2003 to 2007.  The affidavit also revealed that Saani worked as a contracting officer on detail to Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, from 2002 through 2007.

If convicted, Saani faces up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.

Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola authorized the arrest warrant on March 25, 2008.  Saani made his initial appearance in Brooklyn, N.Y., on May 8, 2007, before Magistrate Judge Joan M. Azrack.

This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Ann C. Brickley, Kathryn H. Albrecht and Richard B. Evans of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section, which is headed by Chief William M. Welch II; and Trial Attorneys Mark W. Pletcher, Emily W. Allen and Ryan Danks of the Antitrust Division’s National Criminal Enforcement Section, which is headed by Chief Lisa Phelan.

The case is being investigated by Special Agents of the Army Criminal Investigation Division, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, FBI, Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation Division, and the Special Inspector General for Iraqi Reconstruction.  The U.S. Department State - Bureau of Diplomatic Security provided assistance to the investigation.

A complaint is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt.  A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.