CATF Reports Mar. 30, 2017, 10:42am

Last week, dual Lebanese-Belgian citizen and head of a multibillion-dollar shipping empire Kassim Tajideen, 62, pleaded not guilty to a string of U.S. charges including conspiracy, money laundering, and fraud. Tajideen, who allegedly restructured his web of businesses after being hit with a U.S. terrorist designation in May 2009, has been accused of doing business with unsuspecting U.S. companies after transferring “tens of millions of dollars” to Shi’a Islamist group Hezbollah. Arrested in Morocco on March 12th en route to Beirut, Tajideen was extradited to the U.S. and appeared in court in D.C. last week.    

Kassim and his brothers, Ali and Husayn Tajideen, ran a massive poultry and rice business that has reportedly been active in construction in Lebanon and diamond mining in West Africa. Kassim Tajideen has lived in Sierra Leone for decades and was traveling from Guinea to Beirut when he was arrested in Morocco. However, it was the brothers’ financial support of Hezbollah that led all three to be added to the U.S. terrorism sanctions list in 2009 and 2010. Following the designation, Tajideen quietly restructured his company, used new business names, and covered up his ownership in order to finalize more than $27 million in illegal deals to U.S. vendors, according to the indictment. Tajideen has also been accused of hiding his activities in meetings with U.S. Treasury officials between 2010 and 2014.

U.S. officials said that Tajideen’s arrest was part of the two-year DEA-led “Project Cassandra,” that, with help from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, sought to undermine Hezbollah’s global web of financiers.

From the Washington Post:

 “The investigation of this case and the arrest and extradition of this defendant demonstrates our commitment to enforcing vitally important sanctions laws that are in place to protect our national security and foreign policy interests,” Channing D. Phillips, U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, said in a statement announcing the arrest. “Because of the hard work of law enforcement here and abroad, Kassim Tajideen will now face charges in an American courtroom.”

Tajideen appeared relaxed in court Friday. He was detained at Casablanca’s airport while en route from Guinea’s capital, Conakry, to Beirut, on an arrest warrant issued two days earlier by Interpol’s Washington office, the Reuters news agency reported.”

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