Ghassan Diab ( not to be confused with Hezbollah backed Lebanese PM Hassan Diab) , a Lebanese national wanted in Florida who is alleged to have conspired to engage in, and actually engaged, in the laundering of drug proceeds through the use of the black market peso exchange in support of Hezbollah’s global criminal-support network was extradited yesterday from the Republic of Cyprus to the United States.
Another person Joshua Polloso Epifaniou a Cypriot national who is wanted in the Northern District of Georgia and the District of Arizona for cyber intrusion and extortion, was also extradited yesterday from the Republic of Cyprus to the United States.
“These successful extraditions demonstrate the commitment of the Department of Justice to support local, state and federal law enforcement agencies throughout the United States and our strong working relationship with dedicated foreign partners who assist in apprehending foreign fugitives wherever they may be hiding,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “Thanks to the efforts of our law enforcement partners in Cyprus, Ghassan Diab and Joshua Polloso Epifaniou will now be held accountable in the United States for their alleged crimes.”
Diab, 37 arrived in Miami yesterday where he is charged in the State of Florida, Circuit Court of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit in and for Miami-Dade County, with two counts of money laundering over $100,000, two counts of conspiracy to launder over $100,000, two counts of unlicensed transmission of currency over $100,000, and two counts of unlawful use of a two-way communications device to further the commission of money laundering, all felonies under Florida law.
Diab was previously identified as an alleged Hezbollah associate and charges were announced by the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office in October 2016 as a part of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Miami Field Division’s “Operation reconquista,” a joint State/Federal partnership to attack money laundering which resulted in the arrest of two co-defendants. At that time, Ghassan Diab’s specific whereabouts were unknown.
Diab was provisionally arrested in Cyprus for purposes of extradition on March 9, 2019, at the Larnaca International Airport upon his arrival from Beirut, Lebanon, based on a request from the United States in accordance with the U.S.-Cyprus Extradition Treaty. On September 27, 2019, the court in Cyprus found him extraditable to the United States.
The Diab case was investigated by DEA’s Miami Field Division and Special Operations Division. Assistant State Attorney Adam C. Korn, Executive Director of the South Florida Financial Crimes Strike Force of the Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle Office is prosecuting the case.
“I am particularly proud of the work done by our South Florida Financial Crimes Strike Force and the Extradition Section of my Legal Division, for working so closely, for so long, with the Federal authorities,” Rundle said in a statement.