Fugitive ex-restaurant owner wants to return to US

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DETROIT (AP) — A fugitive former Detroit-area restaurant chain owner charged with tax evasion and citizenship fraud says he wants to return to the United States.

Talal Chahine (tah-LAHL' shah-HEEN') tells the Detroit Free Press (http://on.freep.com/X28gvs ) in a telephone interview from Beirut published Monday that he misses his home and friends. The 58-year-old says he was the victim of a post-Sept. 11, 2001, atmosphere that led to overzealous targeting of Arab Americans and Muslims.

The FBI isn't commenting on his remarks. The U.S. attorney's office in Detroit says that Chahine has been wanted since he fled the U.S. in 2005.

Investigators say Chahine skimmed $20 million from the La Shish restaurant chain. They've previously said they believed he was in Lebanon.

The La Shish restaurant name was later revived under a different owner.

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from: Detroit Free Press, http://www.freep.com

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