Abdallah Safi-Al-Din

Abdullah Safi-Al-Din is Hezbollah’s envoy to Iran.“Treasury Targets Key Hizballah Financing Network and Iranian Conduit,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, May 17, 2018, https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm0388; Josh Meyer, “The secret backstory of how Obama let Hezbollah off the hook,” Politico, 2017, https://www.politico.com/interactives/2017/obama-hezbollah-drug-trafficking-investigation/. According to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, he acts as a “conduit” between Iran and Hezbollah and has served as the interlocutor between them on financial matters.“Treasury Targets Key Hizballah Financing Network and Iranian Conduit,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, May 17, 2018, https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm0388. Safi-Al-Din has also led a global Hezbollah criminal network involved in drug and weapons trafficking and money laundering since at least 2008.Derek Maltz and Emmanuele Ottolenghi, Foreign Policy, “It’s time for the Justice Department to hold Hezbollah accountable,” Chicago Tribune, January 22, 2018, http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-wp-hezbollah-comment-e8605ca0-ff8f-11e7-8acf-ad2991367d9d-20180122-story.html; Josh Meyer, “The secret backstory of how Obama let Hezbollah off the hook,” Politico, 2017, https://www.politico.com/interactives/2017/obama-hezbollah-drug-trafficking-investigation/; “DEA and European Authorities Uncover Massive Hizballah Drug and Money Laundering Scheme,” United States Drug Enforcement Administration, February 1, 2016, https://www.dea.gov/divisions/hq/2016/hq020116.shtml Safi-Al-Din was designated a Specially Designated Global Terrorist by the U.S. Department of the Treasury on May 17, 2018.“Treasury Targets Key Hizballah Financing Network and Iranian Conduit,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, May 17, 2018, https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm0388.

As Hezbollah’s envoy to Iran, Safi-Al-Din worked with Hezbollah financier Mohammed Ibrahim Bazzi and the Central Bank of Iran in 2009 and 2010 to increase banking access between Iran and Lebanon.“Treasury Targets Key Hizballah Financing Network and Iranian Conduit,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, May 17, 2018, https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm0388. Specifically, Safi-Al-Din reportedly worked to facilitate access to the Lebanese Canadian Bank for Iranian government officials.Michael Isikoff, “Bank accused of laundering drug money for Hezbollah,” NBC News, February 10, 2011, http://www.nbcnews.com/id/41512092/ns/world_news-mideast_n_africa/t/bank-accused-laundering-drug-money-hezbollah/#.VQnZhY7F9ks. In 2011, Safi-Al-Din and Bazzi worked to resolve a dispute and reestablish relations between Iran and The Gambia.“Treasury Targets Key Hizballah Financing Network and Iranian Conduit,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, May 17, 2018, https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm0388. Safi-Al-Din reportedly also oversaw Hezbollah efforts to help Iran procure supplies for its clandestine nuclear and ballistic missile programs.Josh Meyer, “The secret backstory of how Obama let Hezbollah off the hook,” Politico, 2017, https://www.politico.com/interactives/2017/obama-hezbollah-drug-trafficking-investigation/.

Safi-Al-Din has also led a Hezbollah criminal network in conjunction with U.S.-designated Hezbollah operative Adham Tabaja after the death of the network’s founder, Imad Mughniyah, in 2008. This network, known to law enforcement as the Lebanese Hizballah External Security Organization Business Affairs Component (BAC), has been the subject of a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigation since 2008. Linked to numerous drug cartels, the BAC is comprised of various drug trafficking and money laundering networks in Latin America, Africa, Europe, and the United States. The funds generated from these networks have largely been used to supply weapons to Hezbollah-linked Shiite militias in Iraq and Syria.Josh Meyer, “The secret backstory of how Obama let Hezbollah off the hook,” Politico, 2017, https://www.politico.com/interactives/2017/obama-hezbollah-drug-trafficking-investigation/; “DEA and European Authorities Uncover Massive Hizballah Drug and Money Laundering Scheme,” United States Drug Enforcement Administration, February 1, 2016, https://www.dea.gov/divisions/hq/2016/hq020116.shtml. In February 2016, the DEA announced that it had arrested individuals for their involvement in the BAC, though Safi-Al-Din remains at large.“DEA and European Authorities Uncover Massive Hizballah Drug and Money Laundering Scheme,” United States Drug Enforcement Administration, February 1, 2016, https://www.dea.gov/divisions/hq/2016/hq020116.shtml; Sue Surkes, “Hezbollah drugs-for-guns ring busted in international sting,” Times of Israel (Jerusalem), February 2, 2016, https://www.timesofisrael.com/international-sting-nets-hezbollah-drug-money-couriers/.

Safi-Al-Din is the cousin of Hezbollah’s U.S.-designated Secretary General Hasan Nasrallah. He is also the brother of Hashem Safieddine, the reported head of Hezbollah’s Executive Assembly.Michael Isikoff, “Bank accused of laundering drug money for Hezbollah,” NBC News, February 10, 2011, http://www.nbcnews.com/id/41512092/ns/world_news-mideast_n_africa/t/bank-accused-laundering-drug-money-hezbollah/#.VQnZhY7F9ks.

Also Known As

Extremist entity
Hezbollah
Type(s) of Organization:
Militia, political party, social-service provider, terrorist, transnational, violent
Ideologies and Affiliations:
Iranian-sponsored, Islamist, jihadist, Khomeinist, Shiite
Position(s):
Hezbollah’s envoy to Iran, leader of a global Hezbollah criminal network

Hezbollah is an Iranian-sponsored, internationally sanctioned terrorist group with an anti-Israel and anti-U.S. agenda. Hezbollah is primarily based in Lebanon, but has carried out terrorist and criminal operations around the world.

  • Designations
  • Rhetoric

United States

  • The U.S. Department of the Treasury designated “Abdallah Safi-Al-Din” as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13224 on May 17, 2018.“Treasury Targets Key Hizballah Financing Network and Iranian Conduit,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, May 17, 2018, https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm0388.

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