A Filipino doctor arrested on suspicion of funding a foiled terror plot in the United States also sent money to a man involved in the first and only attack claimed by Islamic State (IS) on Malaysian soil, FBI documents show.
Russel Salic, an orthopedic surgeon based in the southern Philippine city of Cagayan de Oro, wired $426 to a man named Jasanizam Bin Rosni in Johor, Malaysia, on June 26, 2016, two days before a grenade blast injured eight patrons at the Movida nightclub in Puchong, according to the FBI. In August 2016, Malaysian authorities arrested Jasanizam, among other suspects, and charged him as a participant in the grenade attack.
Salic, who was arrested in April 2017 in the Philippines, is awaiting extradition to the United States after federal authorities unsealed the charges against him and two men on Friday for allegedly plotting to attack targets in New York City.
Authorities said they thwarted the New York attacks after an undercover FBI agent, posing as an IS supporter, came in contact with the three suspects through electronic messaging apps. The suspects planned to explode bombs and open fire at targets in Times Square and concert venues in the name of the Islamic State during the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan last year, prosecutors said.
U.S. court documents obtained by BenarNews said Salic also sent $423 (about 21,650 pesos) from Cagayan de Oro to the undercover agent using his Philippine Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) identification card, which identified him as a physician. It also showed his photograph, officials said.
Salic used the same documents and wired the money from the same Western Union branch to his Malaysian contact, according to the unsealed court papers.
“I believe that the Malaysian [funds] that Salic sent four days before the Malaysia nightclub attack … is consistent with [Salic’s] statements indicating that he was involved in funding not only the NYC plot, but also the activities of other ISIL supporters in other countries,” said FBI Special Agent Cody Haven in an affidavit, referring to IS by another acronym.
The court documents said Salic sent funds to suspected terrorists in Syria, Australia, Lebanon and Palestine. All money transfers were sent from the same Western Union branch in Cagayan de Oro city.
Salic faces seven charges, including conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism, which carry penalties of life imprisonment.
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