Charity leader to be sentenced in money smuggling



EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — The leader of the U.S. branch of a now-defunct Islamic charity faces sentencing on convictions he helped smuggle $150,000 to Saudi Arabia in 2000 that prosecutors maintain was intended for Muslim fighters battling the Russian army in Chechnya.

Pete Seda, an Iranian-born U.S. citizen also known as Pirouz Sedaghaty, is due in U.S. District Court in Eugene Tuesday afternoon. He was convicted a year ago of tax fraud and conspiracy to defraud the government.

Prosecutors hope to see Seda sentenced to the maximum eight years in prison on grounds he intended the money to go to terrorists.

The defense counters that Seda was never charged with terrorism, prosecutors never established what happened to the money, and he should get probation with credit for time in jail while awaiting trial.