The U.S. Treasury Department said Thursday it sanctioned two brothers for allegedly doing fundraising for Hezbollah.
Ali Tajideen and Husayn Tajideen, brothers who served as business partners for the previously sanctioned Kassim Tajideen, were targeted along with their business interests in The Gambia, Lebanon, Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, and the British Virgin Islands. Ali is a former Hezbollah commander in Hanouay, Tyre, Lebanon, and has provided cash to Hezbollah, in tranches as large as $1 million, the Treasury said. Husayn operated primarily in The Gambia.
“Today’s designation targets two of Hezbollah’s top financiers in Africa,” said Stuart Levey, undersecretary of the Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence. “Ali and Husayn Tajideen’s multinational network generates millions of dollars in funding and secures strategic geographical strongholds for Hezbollah.”
Hezbollah is a Shi’ite Islamist militia, political party and social welfare organization in Lebanon that gets much of its funding from Iran and Syria, and operates as a “state within a state,” according to a recent Congressional Research Service report (pdf). The State Department designated it as a terrorist organization in 1997.
Thursday’s designation also included a number of businesses operated by the brothers, including Tajco, a multinational company involved in international trade and real estate that Kassim allegedly used to funnel millions of dollars to Hezbollah, according to the Treasury statement. Ali is a major player in Jihad Al Bina, a Lebanon-based construction company formed and operated by Hezbollah that was designated in February 2007.
Also designated Thursday was Bilal Mohsen Wehbe, a Hezbollah member who has served as Hezbollah’s chief representative in South America. He has been involved in transferring funds collected in Brazil to Hezbollah in Lebanon. WSJ