Dutch National Faces Charges for Participation in Terror Financing Ring
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – After more than seven years of extradition proceedings in the Netherlands, a Dutch woman brought by the FBI to the United States yesterday made her initial appearance today in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to face charges stemming from her alleged participation in a terrorist financing ring in support of the Somalia-based terrorist group al-Shabaab.
According to allegations in an indictment, Farhia Hassan, 38, was involved with a group of women from more than a dozen countries around the world who ran a fundraising ring to provide financial support to al-Shabaab from in or about February 2011 through in or about July 2014. Through conduits in Nairobi, Kenya, and Hargeisa, Somalia, the group of women allegedly funneled cash payments via money remitters directly to members of the terrorist group. According to members of the conspiracy, the money was used to fund safehouses and to purchase trucks and weaponry in support of al-Shabaab. The women allegedly coordinated the payments using online chatrooms.
Hassan, in particular, was allegedly involved in fundraising in the Netherlands under false pretenses by representing to donors that money was being collected to fund charitable ventures, such as schools for orphans, when it was in fact being funneled to terrorists. Two U.S.-based members of the fundraising ring, Muna Osman Jama, 41, of Reston, and Hinda Osman Dhirane, 51, of Kent, Washington, were convicted in 2016 for their participation and were sentenced to 12 and 11 years imprisonment, respectively.
Hassan is charged with conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization. If convicted, she faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Mark J. Lesko, Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s National Security Division; and Steven M. D’Antuono, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys James P. Gillis and Danya E. Atiyeh are prosecuting the case.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:14-cr-230.
An indictment is merely an accusation. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.