Ghassan Diab

Lebanese citizen Ghassan Diab is an alleged member of Hezbollah who is suspected of involvement in the terror group’s transnational money-laundering and narcotics operations. Diab was extradited to the United States from Cyprus in July 2020 and faces multiple felony charges.“Two Alleged Criminals – A Hezbollah Associated Narco-Money Launderer and a Computer Hacker - Extradited from Cyprus to the United States,” U.S. Department of Justice, July 18, 2020, https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/two-alleged-criminals-hezbollah-associated-narco-money-launderer-and-computer-hacker.

As part of its Operation Reconquista, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Miami Field Division identified Diab in 2016 as part of Hezbollah’s money-laundering operations.“Two Alleged Criminals – A Hezbollah Associated Narco-Money Launderer and a Computer Hacker - Extradited from Cyprus to the United States,” U.S. Department of Justice, July 18, 2020, https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/two-alleged-criminals-hezbollah-associated-narco-money-launderer-and-computer-hacker. Diab and associates Mohammad Ahmad Ammar and Hassan Mohsen Mansour were allegedly responsible for laundering $500,000 through Miami banks. According to court documents, Diab is related to a “high-ranking member of Hezbollah who has access to numerous international bank accounts.”David Ovalle, “State: Hezbollah-linked group laundered drug money through Miami banks,” Miami Herald, October 11, 2016, https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/crime/article107366182.html. Ammar is reportedly Diab’s brother-in-law.Callum Paton, “Lebanese national accused of laundering drug money for Hezbollah extradited from Cyprus,” National (Dubai), July 19, 2020, https://www.thenational.ae/world/europe/lebanese-national-accused-of-laundering-drug-money-for-hezbollah-extradited-from-cyprus-1.1051446.

The DEA opened an investigation into the trio in 2014. Confidential informants began questioning Ammar for help laundering $250,000 worth of Australian dollars from cocaine sales. Ammar then contacted Mansour in Paris. They moved the money to accounts in Dubai where a front company called Al Haitham Exhibition and Conference Organizers dispersed it to other accounts. Diab’s alleged role was to send fraudulent invoices to cover the transactions. Unbeknownst to the trio, the money was moved to DEA accounts. Diab, Ammar, and Mansour were involved in a second operation in September 2014 to launder $250,000.David Ovalle, “State: Hezbollah-linked group laundered drug money through Miami banks,” Miami Herald, October 11, 2016, https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/crime/article107366182.html.

In October 2016, the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office charged Diab 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.“Two Alleged Criminals – A Hezbollah Associated Narco-Money Launderer and a Computer Hacker - Extradited from Cyprus to the United States,” U.S. Department of Justice, July 18, 2020, https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/two-alleged-criminals-hezbollah-associated-narco-money-launderer-and-computer-hacker. Ammar was arrested in Los Angeles, California, in September 2016. Mansour, a dual citizen of Lebanon and Canada, was arrested in Paris on separate but similar money-laundering charges.David Ovalle, “State: Hezbollah-linked group laundered drug money through Miami banks,” Miami Herald, October 11, 2016, https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/crime/article107366182.html.

On March 9, 2019, Diab arrived in Cyprus from Beirut, Lebanon. He was provisionally arrested at Cyprus’s Larnaca International Airport for the purpose of extradition. On September 27, 2019, a court in Cyprus ruled that Diab could be extradited to the United States under the U.S.-Cyprus extradition agreement. Diab arrived in Florida on July 17, 2020, to face charges in Miami-Dade County.“Two Alleged Criminals – A Hezbollah Associated Narco-Money Launderer and a Computer Hacker - Extradited from Cyprus to the United States,” U.S. Department of Justice, July 18, 2020, https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/two-alleged-criminals-hezbollah-associated-narco-money-launderer-and-computer-hacker. Ammar was convicted in Miami of one count of money laundering in excess of $100,000 and one count of conspiracy to commit laundering in excess of $100,000 after his arrest in California.Callum Paton, “Lebanese national accused of laundering drug money for Hezbollah extradited from Cyprus,” National (Dubai), July 19, 2020, https://www.thenational.ae/world/europe/lebanese-national-accused-of-laundering-drug-money-for-hezbollah-extradited-from-cyprus-1.1051446.

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):
Financier

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.

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On September 28, 2020, two Katyusha rockets targeted U.S. troops stationed at Baghdad’s airport, but fell short, striking a house. The impact killed two women and three children and wounded two other children. Iraqi intelligence blamed a small group of Iran-backed fighters.   

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