Saturday, January 18, 2003

Doubts aired at bond hearing

Prosecutors list concerns

By Janice Morse
The Cincinnati Enquirer

aladimi8 An assistant U.S. attorney said Friday that federal authorities have not accused Ali Kareem Aladimi, a Yemen-born Butler County businessman, of terrorist activity. But they want him to remain in jail because they don't believe explanations about his actions involving foreign nationals, large amounts of cash and stolen baby food, said Amul Thapar, an assistant U.S. attorney.

In U.S. District Court on Friday, he urged Judge Sandra Beckwith to keep Mr. Aladimi, 41, of Beavercreek, Ohio, in custody without bond.

Whatever the judge's decision, Mr. Aladimi may remain locked up anyway on a 2001 California federal indictment involving pseudeophedrine, which can be used in illegal drug labs.

In Ohio this month, Mr. Aladimi was indicted on federal charges involving stolen Gerber baby food found at his West Chester Township warehouse.

Mr. Thapar said Mr. Aladimi has been connected to stolen goods before, so he doesn't believe Mr. Aladimi was unaware the baby food was "hot."

Mr. Aladimi's lawyers, Max and Janet Kravitz, say their client's actions are being misinterpreted.

They noted Mr. Aladimi obtained U.S. government approvals to bring about two dozen Yemeni men here, saying they were artisans who would make stained glass for one of his companies, Spectrum Creative Designs Inc.

But Mr. Thapar declared: "It's a shell corporation. ... We believe it is a front for him to bring (the Yemenis) here for some other purpose," because there is no evidence that Mr. Aladimi bought tools, materials or equipment to produce stained glass.

Also of concern: Mr. Aladimi wired $250,000 to Yemen in 1999 after authorities found $784,000 at his home, Mr. Thapar said.

Mr. Kravitz said his client was preparing to convert dollars into Yemeni rials and wait for a profitable exchange rate.

But Mr. Thapar questioned why Mr. Aladimi didn't hire a currency broker to do that.


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