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Press Release

Afghan Man Convicted by Jury of Conspiracy to Commit Kidnapping and Conspiracy to Commit Murder for Hire

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Kentucky

LEXINGTON, Ky. – An Afghan man was convicted Friday, by a federal jury sitting in Lexington, of conspiring to commit kidnapping and murder-for-hire, targeting a victim and his minor son.

Following a five-day trial, the jury convicted 32-year-old Fnu “John” Sadiqullah of one count of conspiracy to commit kidnapping and one count of conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire.

According to the evidence presented at trial, Fnu “John” Sadiqullah believed that the victim owed him tens of thousands of dollars.  After repeated attempts to try to get his money back, through persistent visits to the victim’s place of business, Sadiqullah contacted Mahmoud Shalash to help him get his money back.  Shalash had been working with a confidential human source, for whom Shalash had laundered approximately $100,000.  Shalash introduced the confidential source to Sadiqullah as an individual who could collect debts, by any means necessary.

Evidence at trial demonstrated that Sadiqullah and the confidential source proceeded to agree to kidnap the victim or his son; attempt to retrieve the money; and then, if necessary, kill the victim. Three days later, when Sadiqullah learned that the victim was in Lexington, Sadiqullah, along with other friends, cornered the victim at his place of business and called the confidential source to carry out the plan. The confidential source, who had been working for the FBI during this entire period of time, reported the incident to the FBI, which then took the victim and his son into protective custody.

A third defendant, Hadi Abdul, was acquitted at the trial.

Robert M. Duncan, Jr., United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, and James Robert Brown, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation-Louisville Field Office, jointly announced the verdict.  The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  The United States was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrew T. Boone and Kathryn M. Anderson.

Sadiqullah will appear for sentencing on June 11, 2020.  He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.  Shalash had previously pleaded guilty for his role in these offenses, and others, on January 27, 2020.  His sentencing is scheduled for June 18, 2020.  He also faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.  However, the Court must consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the applicable federal sentencing statutes before imposing a sentence

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CONTACT: Gabrielle Dudgeon
PHONE: (859) 685-4887

Updated February 10, 2020