ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A businessman who lied to investigators about his dealings with a top figure in the militant group Hamas was sentenced Thursday to 13 months in prison.
Soliman Biheiri was convicted in October for falsely telling agents in 2003 that he had had no business dealings with Mousa Abu Marzook, a former northern Virginia resident who has been deported and is now a top officer in the political wing of Hamas.
Prosecutors said Marzook helped lure $1 million in investment to BMI Inc., Biheiri’s now-defunct New Jersey-based business, and that the two engaged in financial transactions involving tens of thousands of dollars as recently as 1996 — a year after the U.S. government designated Marzook a terrorist.
U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III rejected prosecution calls for at least a five-year sentence on counts of making false statements to federal investigators and fraudulently obtaining a passport.
Prosecutor David Laufman said Biheiri deserved a tougher sentence because he lied “to investigators who were conducting a major terrorism financing investigation into how Hamas raised money in the United States.”