Hatem Barakat

Hatem Barakat is a dual Lebanese and Paraguayan citizen and U.S.-designated Hezbollah financier. Though he was born in Lebanon, Hatem became part of a network of Hezbollah financiers in the Triple Frontier of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay, along with his brothers, Assad and Hamza Barakat.“Treasury Targets Hizballah Fundraising Network in the Triple Frontier of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, December 6, 2006, https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/hp190.aspx; “Recent OFAC Actions,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, December 6, 2006, https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/OFAC-Enforcement/pages/20061206.aspx. He lived in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, since the early 1990s, and made frequent trips to Iquique, Chile, where he collected funds for the group to send to Lebanon and possibly managed a group of suspected Hezbollah members.“Treasury Targets Hizballah Fundraising Network in the Triple Frontier of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, December 6, 2006, https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/hp190.aspx; “Supuesto extremista manejaba cuenta bancaria en Bahamas,” ABC Color (Asunción), April 22, 2005, http://www.abc.com.py/edicion-impresa/policiales/supuesto-extremista-manejaba-cuenta-bancaria-en-bahamas-826089.html. Hatem also reportedly generated funds for Hezbollah through two businesses based in Iquique for which he was a significant shareholder as of 2003. He also co-owned several businesses with his brothers Assad and Hamza, including the Paraguay-based Casa Apollo, which was designated by the United States in 2004.“Treasury Targets Hizballah Fundraising Network in the Triple Frontier of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, December 6, 2006, https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/hp190.aspx; “Treasury Designates Islamic Extremist, Two Companies Supporting Hizballah in Tri-Border Area,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, June 10, 2004, https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/js1720.aspx.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury designated Hatem and Hamza Barakat as terrorists on December 6, 2006. Their brother, Assad, had been designated previously.“Treasury Targets Hizballah Fundraising Network in the Triple Frontier of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, December 6, 2006, https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/hp190.aspx; “Treasury Designates Islamic Extremist, Two Companies Supporting Hizballah in Tri-Border Area,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, June 10, 2004, https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/js1720.aspx. Hatem Barakat had been the subject of a 2003 Interpol investigation linking him to Hezbollah operatives who were involved in the July 18, 1994, bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, that killed 86.“Interpol pide datos de hermano de Barakat en caso de AMIA,” ABC Color (Asunción), November 19, 2003, http://www.abc.com.py/edicion-impresa/policiales/interpol-pide-datos-de-hermano-de-barakat-en-caso-de-amia-731541.html; “Libaneses considerados sospechosos en la región,” ABC Color (Asunción), April 5, 2006, http://www.abc.com.py/edicion-impresa/politica/libaneses-considerados-sospechosos-en-la-region-895957.html. The year prior to the attack, U.S. Customs had reportedly intercepted a package addressed to Barakat containing identification cards with the names of the Hezbollah operatives. A Paraguayan investigation found further connections between Barakat and the operatives, including possible indications that Barakat had provided them with logistical support using a Bahamas-based bank account.“Supuesto extremista manejaba cuenta bancaria en Bahamas,” ABC Color (Asunción), April 22, 2005, http://www.abc.com.py/edicion-impresa/policiales/supuesto-extremista-manejaba-cuenta-bancaria-en-bahamas-826089.html. In 2005, Paraguay filed two charges against Hatem Barakat for document falsification in the alleged pursuit of Paraguayan citizenship for his children.“Libaneses considerados sospechosos en la región,” ABC Color (Asunción), April 5, 2006, http://www.abc.com.py/edicion-impresa/politica/libaneses-considerados-sospechosos-en-la-region-895957.html, “Paraguay’s 2005 Second Quarter Report,” WikiLeaks, July 8, 2005, https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/05ASUNCION870_a.html. He was convicted and sentenced to six years in prison in June 2006.“Chapter 2 – Country Reports: Western Hemisphere Overview,” U.S. Department of State, April 30, 2007, https://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/crt/2006/82735.htm.

According to congressional testimony by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ Emanuele Ottolenghi, Hatem Barakat listed his place of employment on Facebook as the Infornet Princesa store in Luanda, Angola, as of November 2017.Dr. Emanuele Ottolenghi, “Examining the Effectiveness of the Kingpin Designation Act in the Western Hemisphere,” Congressional Testimony: Foundation for Defense of Democracies, November 8, 2017, http://docs.house.gov/meetings/FA/FA07/20171108/106606/HHRG-115-FA07-Wstate-OttolenghiE-20171108.pdf. The store, which sells electronics, children’s toys, and accessories, was still listed on Barakat’s Facebook profile as of April 2018, though his place of residence was listed as Foz do Iguaçu, a city in Brazil on the country’s border with Paraguay.Dr. Emanuele Ottolenghi, “Examining the Effectiveness of the Kingpin Designation Act in the Western Hemisphere,” Congressional Testimony: Foundation for Defense of Democracies, November 8, 2017, http://docs.house.gov/meetings/FA/FA07/20171108/106606/HHRG-115-FA07-Wstate-OttolenghiE-20171108.pdf; “Hatem Barakat,” Facebook profile, accessed April 4, 2018, https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100008314491434&sk=about.

United States

The U.S. Department of the Treasury designated “Hatim Ahmad Barakat” as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13224.“Treasury Targets Hizballah Fundraising Network in the Triple Frontier of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, December 6, 2006, https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/hp190.aspx.

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