Imran Awan is/was a staff member from the office of Debbie Wasserman Schultz who was arrested at Dulles International airport on bank fraud charges as he attempted to flee the country. Awan has been the focus of an ongoing investigation involving the theft of staff computers, unauthorized access to House IT servers, and the uploading of Congressional information to off-site servers.
The banking charges against Awan to this point appear as unrelated, at least to these specific House IT crimes. The Daily Caller has reported that in some side business deals Awan took a $100,000 payment from an Iraqi politician.
The money was a loan from Dr. Ali al-Attar, an Iraqi political figure, and was funneled through a company with “impossible”-to-decipher financial transactions that the congressional information technology (IT) staffers controlled.
Imran Awan was a cohort of Wasserman Schultz dating back to her days as the head of the DNC. There Awan had full access to Schultz’s multiple electronic devices, as well as the Chairwoman’s passwords. Additionally it seems this relationship meant Awan had unique clout within the House IT staffing.
Awan was able to get his two brothers also set with House IT positions, as well as two of their wives. It was suspected this may have been a case of the Awan’s double-billing. As well as the IT work the brothers had established a side auto business. Initially operated by Abid Awan, his brother Imran was deeply involved as well.
When one individual dealing with the business was owed a large sum from the company he threatened a lawsuit. This individual ended up on the Congressional payroll. He received $250,000 in payments as a result.
The Iraqi money was discovered through court documents in another court case brought against the brothers. According to Nasir Khattak, a business partner of Abid Awan, the car business eventually came under the control of Imran. Imran also acted as a real estate agent, and through this relationship Khattak orchestrated the transfer of the Iraqi cash.
“Ali Al-Attar was out of the country as he was involved in politics and the formation of the Iraqi government,” Khattak said in court documents. In addition to his other jobs, Imran is a real estate agent, and Khattak is also a realtor who obtained the cash from Al-Attar and passed it through bank accounts used for real estate deals in Fairfax County, Va.
The Iraqi cash disappeared amid a dispute between Khattak and the Awans. Khattak said defaulting on the loan meant Al-Attar now owned the business, but the Awans refused to relinquish control.
It is unclear as of now if there is a direct or indirect connection to Wasserman Schultz. However the zeal of Schultz to quickly disavow Awan, whom she essentially shielded for months following a serious level of charges, indicates recognition of a problem. Heather Caygle, of Politico noted the issue of the Schultz office quickly stepping away from Awan:
Amusingly they made the curious attempt to distance Schultz from Awan, but ultimately had to relent and admit he was in fact an active member of her staff before today’s firing.
It seems very likely this story is only going to grow from here.