The United States Treasury Department has issued sanctions against the terrorist group “Hezbollah’s financial networks in The Gambia, Lebanon, Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, and the British Virgin Islands. Lebanese businesses in Banjul have been affected by the sanctions, which will no doubt taint Gambia’s image as a nation linked to welcoming investors affiliated with terrorist groups such as Hezbollah.

Among Lebanese owned businesses is “Kairaba Supermarket: Kairaba Supermarket is a subsidiary business of Tajco Ltd, with both companies naming Husayn Tajideen as the same point of contact and manager and using the same primary business address,” said the US Treasury Department statement. WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Treasury targeted Hezbollah’s financial network today by designating Hezbollah fundraisers Ali Tajideen and Husayn Tajideen for providing support to Hezbollah.

Today’s designees are the brothers and business partners of Kassim Tajideen, an important financial contributor to Hezbollah, who was designated by Treasury as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) in May 2009 pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13224. The action also targeted a network of businesses that are owned or controlled by the Tajideen brothers operating in The Gambia, Lebanon, Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, and the British Virgin Islands. Also designated by the US Department for providing support to Hezbollah was Bilal Mohsen Wehbe, a Hezbollah member who has served, at the request of Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah, as Hezbollah’s chief representative in South America.

Proprietors Of Kairaba Supermarket On The List Of Hezbollah Financers!

The actions were taken pursuant to E.O.13224, which targets for sanctions terrorists and those providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism, isolating them from the U.S. financial and commercial systems. Hezbollah is among the most dangerous terrorist groups in the world. The Annex to Executive Order 12947 of January 23, 1995 listed Hezbollah as a Specially Designated Terrorist (SDT). The Department of State designated Hezbollah as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) in 1997.

Additionally, on October 31, 2001, Hezbollah was designated as a SDGT under E.O. 13224. “The designation targets two of Hezbollah’s top financiers in Africa. Ali and Husayn Tajideen’s multinational network generates millions of dollars in funding and secures strategic geographical strongholds for Hezbollah,” said Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Stuart Levey. Ali Tajideen is a former Hezbollah commander in Hanouay, Tyre, Lebanon, and has provided cash to Hezbollah, in tranches as large as $1 million.

Ali Tajideen is a major player in Jihad Al Bina, a Lebanon-based construction company formed and operated by Hezbollah, which was designated by the Treasury Department in February 2007 pursuant to E.O. 13224. Husayn Tajideen is a primary Hezbollah fundraiser and prominent Hezbollah supporter in The Gambia. The following businesses in Ali Tajideen, Husayn Tajideen and Kassim Tajideen’s network were designated by Treasury as follows Tajco is a multipurpose, multinational business venture involved in international trade as well as real estate and presided over by Ali, Husayn and Kassim Tajideen.

As of February 2007, Kassim Tajideen owned Tajco and used proceeds from this business to provide millions of dollars in financial support to Hezbollah. Husayn Tajideen, co-owner of Tajco Ltd in The Gambia, serves as the company’s managing director. Ali Tajideen and Kassim Tajideen were business partners and co-owners of Tajco Sarl, operating as Tajco Company LLC in Tyre, Lebanon, with Ali Tajideen serving as the managing partner. Since at least December 2007, Ali Tajideen used Tajco Sarl, operating as Tajco Company LLC, as the primary entity to purchase and develop properties in Lebanon on behalf of Hezbollah.

Under the name of Tajco Company LLC, Ali Tajideen developed the properties, established mortgage loans and acquired mortgage-life insurance to cover the mortgage borrowers. Since at least March 2006, Husayn Tajideen owned 50 percent of Tajco Ltd, in Banjul, The Gambia and served as the managing director of the company. Kairaba Supermarket is a subsidiary business of Tajco Ltd, with both companies naming Husayn Tajideen as the same point of contact and manager and using the same primary business address. Congo Future: As of mid-2007, the Tajideen brothers were running cover companies in the food and diamond trades for Hezbollah.

Since then, Kassim Tajideen owned Congo Future, which operates in the food and diamond trades. Ovlas Trading S.A.: Kassim Tajideen owns Ovlas Trading which operates in the food manufacturing business. Golfrate Holdings (Angola) Lda: Owned by Kassim Tajideen, Golfrate is a wholly owned subsidiary of Ovlas Trading, with part of its main operations located in Angola. Afri Belg Commercio E Industria Lda: Afri Belg Commercio E Industria Lda, is a subsidiary of Ovlas Trading, and is presided over by Kassim Tajideen. Grupo Arosfran Empreendimentos E Participacoes Sarl (Grupo Arosfran): Kassim Tajideen founded Grupo Arosfran in Luanda, Angola, in November 1991.

He has been the primary decision maker and leader of Grupo Arosfran and a member of the Board of Directors. Grupo Arosfran is listed as either a branch or a subsidiary of Ovlas Trading on multiple international business websites. As Hezbollah’s chief representative in South America, Bilal Mohsen Wehbe has relayed information and direction between Hezbollah leaders in Lebanon and Hezbollah elements in South America. He has also overseen Hezbollah’s counterintelligence activity in the Tri-Border Area (TBA) of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. Wehbe has been involved in transferring funds collected in Brazil to Hezbollah in Lebanon. Following Hezbollah’s conflict with Israel in 2006, Wehbe and Ali Muhammad Kazan, identified by Treasury as a SDGT in December 2006, raised more than $500,000 for Hezbollah from Lebanese businessmen in the TBA.

Wehbe also has worked for the office of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, whose regime provides the majority of Hezbollah’s budget. A Lebanese Investor who is allegedly part of the group named Mr. Hussein Tajideen was awarded the prestigious National Honorary Award called the (ORG) by Gambia’s President,His Excellency Yahya Jammeh, for his “contribution towards national development” has been declared welcomed in Angola after his company staffers were kicked out from that country—amid allegations of fueling terrorism. Mr. Tajideen, is also said to be the proprietor of the Kairaba Supermarket in The Gambia.

This followed a decision taken by the United States Treasury Department last year to blacklist businesses associated with Mr. Tajideen, within, and outside The Gambia. “The Angolan authorities forced Tajideen to sell his company,” an employee of Arosfran told “NOW” a newspaper in Lebanon on condition of anonymity. “The Tajideens tried to negotiate some deal with the government, maybe a partnership, but the government would not allow it. The Tajideens sold the company five or six months ago to government proxies.

The new general manager is a French national, and the assistant general manager is Angolan,” he added. The Tajideen brothers own a network of companies in several African countries, including Angola, Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Gambia. Ali Tajideen is also in charge of the Jihad al-Bina construction company in South Lebanon. His brother Hussein funds Ali’s activities from Gambia, while another brother, Ahmed, is handling Congo Future group in the DRC. When 30-year-old Ali accepted to move to Luanda, Angola, a year ago to work in a mall belonging to a Lebanese company based in the country, he didn’t think of terrorism, money laundering, US Treasury blacklists or the Angolan police.

He was recruited by a company called Arosfran, which is owned by the Tajideen family, and would join around 300 other people from South Lebanon already working in Luanda. But later, everything changed. The Angolan government deported 16 Lebanese nationals working for the Tajideen family’s holding company and issued arrest warrants for four members of the family because of their links to Hezbollah, according to Freitas Neto, the director of Migration and Foreigner Services in the Angolan Ministry of Foreign Affairs. One of the four arrested Lebanese citizens was Ali Tajideen, owner of Arosfran and former Hezbollah military commander in Tyre.

“These foreigners were expelled from Angola because of their illegal status and for money laundering and terrorism;” said Neto, adding that the four arrested Lebanese “will be banned from the country for more than 20 years.” NOW Lebanon could not reach the Angolan Ministry of Foreign Affairs for more details. The Tajideens’ troubles with the Angolan authorities did not come as a surprise, neither for the family nor for their employees. “In Angola, they also own Golfrate Holding with five companies, including Golfrate Africa, Golfrate Distribution, Golfrate Food Industries, Arosfranwhich is the main income source, according to employees—as well as AfriBelg.

The Angolan police started investigations at the beginning of 2011, when they received a notification from the United States Department of Treasury blacklisting Ali and Hussein Tajideen for providing financial support to Hezbollah, which the US deemed a terrorist organization in 1999. Another Tajideen brother, Kassim, was blacklisted by the US Treasury in 2009, and according to the Congolese and Angolan press, he passed away this summer, though the rumors could not be verified. According to a US Department of Treasury press release, Kassim Tajideen is an important financial contributor to Hezbollah and operates a network of businesses in Lebanon and Africa.

He contributed tens of millions of dollars to the Party of God through his brother Ali.“Since at least December 2007, Ali Tajideen used [Gambia-based] Tajco Sarl, operating as Tajco Company LLC, as the primary entity to purchase and develop properties in Lebanon on behalf of Hezbollah. Under the name of Tajco Company LLC, Ali Tajideen developed the properties, established mortgage loans and acquired mortgage-life insurance to cover the mortgage borrowers,” the press release said. The Department of Treasury announced last December that it was freezing any assets the Lebanese traders had under US jurisdiction and prohibited Americans from engaging in any transactions with them. But the move was not limited to US territory.

The notification reached the US Embassy in Angola, and the Angolan authorities launched their own observations into the Tajideens’ companies, but they mainly targeted Arosfran. Pressured by the US, the Angolan Ministry of Interior formed a Financial Information Unit to deal with all the suspicious transactions and alleged money-laundering operations in the country. The African Investment Bank announced in January 2011 that it blocked the accounts of three companies—Arosfran, Afribelg and Golfrate—following the US referencing them as Hezbollah donors. The Angolan authorities’ move came at a sensitive time for diplomatic relations with the US.

The Bank of America, Merrill Lynch and HSBC had frozen the accounts of the Angolan Embassy and consular offices as well as 25 other African diplomatic services in the US for undisclosed reasons. The Angolan Embassy had to cancel its 35th Independence Day celebration because it couldn’t access the funds. When the news about the three Lebanese companies in Angola reached Luanda, the government was eager to comply with US demands. “The authorities have not closed down all their businesses yet—they still have factories, they have land there, some contracting businesses, they build villas, and they also have a hotel—and it looks like they are in the process of closing them down too,” the Tajideen employee said. “What we know for sure is that Kassim Tajideen, owner of the company, has been deported. He is no longer in Angola, and his family is also gone.

But he has his nephew there still, managing what’s left of his business. But the main company there, Arosfram, is closed now,” he added. The Tajideens don’t only have a bad reputation in the US. In May 2003, following a four-month international investigation led by Belgium’s Economic Crimes Unit, the country’s judicial police raided the Antwerp offices of Kassim Tajideen’s company Soafrimex, which specialized in exporting food to African countries.

He was arrested with his wife, Huda Saad, and several company officials for fraud, money laundering and diamond smuggling. He and his wife were accused by the Belgian authorities of “large-scale tax fraud, money laundering and trade in diamonds of doubtful origin, to the value of tens of millions of Euros.” Tajideen was released from jail on $150,000 bail. Although the Belgian police had found clear evidence of fraud and possible use of conflict diamonds as a means of payments and money laundering, he was never charged.

“The question is: Why is The Gambian Government allowing suspected “terrorist supporters” to operate in the jurisdiction of The Gambia? And why they didn’t act on the information provided by the USA Treasury Department to restore the image of the country? The reason might be because Tajco is importing a lot of goods of national importance to the government, but the fact is that such publicity is not good for The Gambia.” The source said such publicity will discourage prospective and legitimate investors from coming to The Gambia. The Lebanese company has been involved in the importation of rice, sugar, flour, chicken, cement, iron rods, and other basic commodities in The Gambia.

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