U.S. Sanctions 2 Guinea-Based Lebanese Businessmen over  Hezbollah Links

Treasury has sanctioned two prominent Lebanese businessmen in order to destabilize Hezbollah’s global funding network. They are Ali Saade and Ibrahim Taher.

Saade and Taher provide financial services to Hezbollah in Lebanon and conduct illegal financial activities in Guinea.

The designations under Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, as amended, aim to destabilize Hezbollah’s business networks and its activities that threaten Lebanon and other countries.

In its report, OFAC said Hezbollah has various sources of funding, including profitable commercial activities, which the Iran-supported Lebanese party is alleged to use to “sponsor terrorist acts.”

US Treasury’s latest move is part of its ongoing effort to cripple Hezbollah’s global network of allies and financial supporters.

Saade and Taher are now under US Executive Order 13224 for “materially assisting, sponsoring, or providing financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to, or in support of, Hezbollah.”

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Saade reportedly transferred money from Guinea to Hezbollah in Lebanon on a continuous basis. Additionally, he is closely connected to another financial supporter of Hezbollah, Kassem Tajideen, who is also sanctioned by OFAC.

“At the time of his designation, Tajideen had contributed tens of millions of dollars to Hezbollah and ran cover companies for Hezbollah in Africa with his brothers,” OFAC said.

Tajideen gained unfettered access to Guinea’s corrupt officials through Saade, who was his primary contact in Guinea.

Saade would have also given Tajideen advice on how to successfully avoid detection by regulators by making financial transfers.

Taher, the Honorary Consul of Lebanon to Cote d’Ivoire, was identified by OFAC as “one of Hezbollah’s most prominent financial supporters in Guinea.”

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It is reported that he used his diplomatic status to travel back and forth to Guinea with little to no scrutiny. His offenses include bribing Guinean customs officials to allow his currency to pass through their country’s airports as well as collecting US dollars with an associate “at one of their commercial facilities.”

Sanctions imposed on Ali Saade and Ibrahim Taher will result in a freeze on the transfer of any purchased properties and interests in property owned by both parties in the United States, and/or in the possession or control of U.S. citizens.

Transactions involving Saade and Taher that transit the U.S. and involve U.S. citizens and residents will also be prohibited and blocked.

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A prohibition will also be implemented on contributions to, for, and from them, including goods and services.

Secondary sanctions will also apply to those engaging in transactions with the designated. This includes imposing strict conditions on foreign banking institutions or banning their accounts.

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