NEW YORK – A well-traveled certified public accountant from New York pleaded guilty on Monday to federal charges that he used his technical skills to help al-Qaida.
Sabirhan Hasanoff had been arrested in 2010 in Dubai and brought to the United States to face charges of providing material support to the terror network. He faces up to 15 years in prison at his July 23 sentencing.
Prosecutors portrayed Hasanoff as a new, more sophisticated breed of homegrown terrorist: He is a dual citizen of the U.S. and Australia who lived in Brooklyn with his two children, graduated from Baruch College in Manhattan and formerly worked as a senior manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Before his arrest, prosecutors say, Hasanoff recently visited countries including Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Syria, Malaysia, Yemen and Oman.
An indictment alleged that Hasanaff and another man charged in the case met with a third man in 2008 to discuss how to help al-Qaida. It said the third man paid Hasanoff $50,000 to transfer money and do other tasks for the terror network.
The investigation uncovered evidence that Hasanoff and his co-defendant used code words on Internet chats during 2009 about fighting jihad and finding other al-Qaida contacts, prosecutors said. In their coded language, "safari" was used in place of "jihad" and saying a friend was "hospitalized" meant that he was "in prison."