IRS Descends on Four Philly-area Grocery Stores

PHILADELPHIA -- Agents from the Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigation Division (CID) seized boxes of financial documents from several Cousins grocery stores in the Philadelphia area Friday.

A local television station, WKYW-TV (CBS 3 Philadelphia), drew a possible link between the IRS investigation and an FBI probe of funds being sent abroad to alleged terrorist organizations.

"Officials said no direct connection was mad between the Palestinian-owned grocery stiores during the FBI investigation, so the case was handed over to the IRS Criminal Investigation Division," said the television station in a report on its Web site,

The stores -- three in Philadelphia and one in Camden, N.J. -- were closed for the day while the premises were searched and documents were removed, leaving employees and would-be customers cooling their heels outside. Cousins supermarkets are owned by the Ibrahims, Palestinian immigrant family who also owns furniture stores, pizzerias, and car dealerships in the area.

The CID confiscated the documents to check for any financial irregularities, "a source familiar with the investigation" told the Philadelphia Daily News. The Ibrahim family maintains that it is innocent of any wrongdoing, the newspaper noted.
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