convicted 47 years for smuggle missile into New York
NRI, Hemant Lakhani, 70, a British subject has been
sentenced to 47 years in prison by US federal judge
Katharine Hayde for plotting to smuggle a shoulder-fired
missile into New York's Newark Airport to shoot down
Hemant Lakhani is driven by FBI agents into the Federal
Courthouse in Newark,
New Jersey, August 13, 2003 for a hearing on charges
of selling surface-to-air missiles
Judge said, the evidence was overwhelming that Lakhani
intended to provide weapons to a terrorist group bent
on shooting down airliners, killing thousands of innocent
civilians and bringing the United States to its knees.
Stuart Rabner, assistant US Attorney said the defendant
wasn't thinking of his wife and son when he was caught
on tape discussing a jihad, or holy war, on American
NRI Lakhani, who claimed he was the victim of entrapment,
was convicted in April after a four-month trial for
supporting terrorism, money laundering and importing
In a rambling statement he accused the government's
informants of fabricating the case against him, said
he was sorry and protested that he did not want to
die in the United States.
"I don't think I can survive any longer,"
he said. "I'm completely exhausted. What can
Lakhani denied he was a threat and broke into tears
as he described the hardships his wife and son have
Hemant's wife Kusum Lakhani said in court, "We
are normal people. We had a good life in London"
and added that they are financially ruined.
- Lakhani was arrested in August 2003 at a hotel near
Newark Liberty International Airport where he met
a government informant posing as a representative
of a Somali-based militant group.
- Lakhani arranged to sell one Russian missile for
$US86,500 and then bring 50 more into the country.
- On one tape, Lakhani was heard saying: "Strike
50 at one time simultaneously. It will shake them.
They will run. Strike simultaneously in different
cities, and they will think the war has started."
An informant, Muhammad Habib Rehman, a Pakistani national
who has been providing information to the FBI and
other government agencies since the mid-1990s, testified
that Lakhani reached out to him in October 2001, claiming
to be in the weapons business.
to smuggle anti-aircraft missiles into the US is due
to go on trial
New York, Jan 03, 2004
The trial will open in New Jersey tomorrow, but his
local lawyer believes that Mr Lakhani, who has no
criminal record or known ties to terrorism, was the
victim of entrapment by American and Russian agents
working on behalf of the US. Haji, later discovered
to be a double agent working for the FBI, walked.....more
Police raid Lakhani's
residence in London
London, August 14: London police raided the residence
of Indian-born British arms dealer Hemant Lakhani
here but no arrests were made, a spokeswoman of
the metropolitan police said on Thursday.
Sixty eight-year-old Lakhani, arrested on Tuesday
in Newark, New Jersey, by FBI after an elaborate
sting operation involving Russian and UK intelligence
agencies, has been accused of acting as an arms
broker without license. He has been ordered jailed
without bond by Newark court.
Hemant Lakhani, the 68-year-old British national
of Indian origin arrested last week for allegedly
smuggling an anti-aircraft missile into the United
States, has been under investigation by the Kenya
government for arms-for-diamonds deals and for supplying
weapons to al Qaeda cells. Lakhani was previously
linked with a notorious arms dealer who has been
described as "odious" by the British Government
for supplying weapons to rebel forces in Sierra
Leone."It has also emerged that Lakhani himself
has been under investigation by the Kenyan government
for arms-for-diamonds deals and for supplying weapons
to al Qaeda cells," The paper reported.
Lakhan was born in Gujarat and moved to London
in the 1950s. He worked hard setting up business
in the rag trade, but had expensive tastes and would
always spend too much money on fine food, holidays
and clothes. His wife Kusum, 66, was a well-known
figure in the community, respected for her work
for Asian charities. She worked as president of
the Sangam Association of Asian Women, a charity
set up to offer immigration and welfare advice in
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