NEW YORK (Reuters) - A Pakistani immigrant pleaded not guilty Wednesday to running an illegal money transfer business between Pakistan and the United States that was used to fund an attempt to bomb New York's Times Square.
Mohammad Younis, 44, of suburban Long Island, provided failed Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad with money in April to pay for his attempted May 1 car bomb attack, but prosecutors did not accuse Younis of knowing how the money would be used.
Shahzad, a Pakistani-born American, pleaded guilty in June to the attempted car bombing and said the payment he received to fund the attack had been organized by associates of the Pakistani Taliban Islamist extremist group.
"By engaging in the alleged conduct, Mohammad Younis unwittingly funded a terror plot that, if successful, would have caused mass casualties in New York City," U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement.
Younis is charged with conducting an unlicensed money transfer business and conspiracy to conduct an unlicensed money transfer business.
He appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew Peck in Manhattan federal court and was released on $100,000 bail. His lawyer, Phil Solages, told reporters Younis "is not a terrorist" and "has no ties to terrorism."
If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison for each charge.
(Reporting by Michelle Nichols and Basil Katz, Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Todd Eastham)