Friday, December 19, 2014

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Accelerated movement in Yassine court cases

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One of the defendants in the Yassine money laundering case has struck a plea deal with prosecutors.

Steve Yassine agreed to plead guilty to drug trafficking charges and serve one year in prison. He will then be deported to his home in Ivory Coast. He will receive credit for time served and could be out of prison in a couple months on good behavior.

Steve, 39, and his two brothers Mike and Hadi, were arrested following a federal raid in March. Their company, Yassine Enterprises, was once the largest nightclub operator in downtown Austin, running more than a half-dozen bars.

Last week, Mike and Hadi Yassine were found guilty of laundering money in the shadow of their club empire, and are set to be sentenced Jan. 25.

Additional charges for Mike Yassine were also made public earlier this week. On Friday, Mike was indicted for filing false tax returns for Yassine Enterprises in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

According to a memo from the Department of Justice (DOJ), Mike “understated by hundreds of thousands of dollars the gross receipts from various nightclubs.”

If convicted, he faces up to five years in federal prison. On Friday Mike asked the judge for more time to find an attorney. The judge granted him two weeks time, but did not set a specific date or time for his next appearance.

In other Yassine-related news, the memo from the DOJ also pointed out that 29-year-old Karin Faiq was recently arrested and deported by Honduran authorities after attempting to flee from his initial court appearance in March.

Fariq arrived in Florida on Friday, and will eventually be sent back to Texas to face his two drug-related charges in the Yassine scandal.

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