The Lebanon-based, Iran-backed terrorist group Hezbollah has its tentacles of corruption and crime in nations around the world.
On March 4, the United States sanctioned two Hezbollah financiers operating in Guinea: Ali Saade and Ibrahim Taher. State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement, “This action will help disrupt Hezbollah’s network in West Arica, which relies on bribery to circumvent the rule of law.”
In announcing the sanctions, the U.S. Treasury Department called the two Lebanese businessmen “key” operatives. Saade initiates money transfers from Guinea to Hezbollah, moving funds through Hezbollah representatives in Guinea and Lebanon. He is a close associate of another prominent Hezbollah supporter, Kassem Tajideen, who was designated by the United States in 2009 as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist.
According to the Treasury Department, Tajideen contributed tens of millions of dollars to Hezbollah and ran cover companies for Hezbollah with his brothers. Saade helped provide Tajideen with access to corrupt members of the former Guinean administration at the highest levels and the rest of the Guinean government.
Ibrahim Taher is one of the most prominent financial supporters of Hezbollah in Guinea. According to the Treasury Department, he and an associate sent U.S. dollars collected at one of their commercial facilities to Conakry Airport and bribed Guinean customs officials to allow their currency to pass in luggage.
Both Saade and Taher were designated under Executive Order 13224, as amended, for having sponsored or provided financial, material or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, Hezbollah.
The designations mean that all property and interests in property of these two individuals that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons must be blocked and reported to Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, or OFAC. In addition, unless authorized by a general or specific license from OFAC, or otherwise exempt, transactions by U.S. persons that involve the property of the designated individuals are prohibited.
“The illicit financial activity of those designated [on March 4] not only supports the terrorist group’s malign activities but also undermines the commercial sector and rule of law where legitimate financial activity takes place,” said State Department Spokesperson Price. “The United States will continue to expose individuals . . . who support Hezbollah’s destabilizing activities.”