Washington (CNN) — Pakistani intelligence secretly funneled at least $4 million to a Washington front group whose leaders improperly lobbied U.S. officials over the disputed territory of Kashmir, federal agents alleged Tuesday.
A Pakistani-American man who served as director of the Kashmiri American Council is in federal custody, while a second man accused of steering money to the organization is believed to be in Pakistan, the Justice Department said. The KAC director, Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai, “acted at the direction and with the financial support of the government of Pakistan for more than 20 years,” an FBI arrest affidavit states.
One U.S. congressman quickly gave $4,000 donated by the two men charged in the case to charity, while another said he would consider a similar move if the source of the money was in question.
Fai and his co-defendant, Zaheer Ahmad, have been charged with conspiring to violate the Foreign Agents Registration Act, which requires lobbyists acting on behalf of another nation to register with the U.S. government. The charge carries a possible prison term of up to five years.
Rupert Murdoch has said he cannot be held responsible for the scandal at the News of the World, saying he was let down by “people I trusted”.
The News Corporation boss said he was not aware of the extent of phone hacking there and had “clearly” been misled by some of his staff.
His son, James, apologised to victims, saying hacking was “inexcusable”.
The hearing was the first time Rupert Murdoch has faced direct scrutiny by MPs in his 40-year UK media career.
Two hours into the hearing, a man tried to throw a foam pie at Rupert Murdoch and proceedings were briefly suspended.
The protester appeared to lunge towards the News Corp chairman and chief executive but was fought off by a group of people, including Mr Murdoch’s wife, Wendi. A man has been detained by police.
In other developments:
Rebekah Brooks tells MPs News International had acted “quickly and decisively” when new evidence of hacking emerged and that she never sanctioned payments to police
The Conservative Party says former NoW journalist Neil Wallis may have provided “informal advice” to Andy Coulson, David Cameron’s ex-press chief, before the last election
Met Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson denied any impropriety in the hiring of Neil Wallis to provide media support to the police force but said he now regretted the appointment.
The Met Police’s public affairs director Dick Fedorcio tells MPs 10 out of 45 members of his department had once worked for the News International
At the close of trading in New York, News Corp shares were 6% higher than at the start of the day
A post-mortem examination into the death of whistleblowing former News of the World journalist Sean Hoare has found no evidence of third party involvement
David Cameron has arrived back in the UK after cutting short a trip to Africa to prepare for a Commons debate on the hacking scandal on Wednesday