Muhammad Yusif Abdallah

Muhammad Yusif Abdallah is a U.S.-designated senior Hezbollah leader and fundraiser in the Tri-Border Area (TBA) of South America––the region that straddles the borders of Paraguay, Brazil, and Argentina.“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. In 2006, the Paraguayan periodical ABC Color referred to him as a “spiritual leader” of Hezbollah.“Los nueve árabes sospechosos para EUA tienen negocios en C. del Este,” ABC Color (Asución), December 17, 2006, http://www.abc.com.py/edicion-impresa/policiales/los-nueve-arabes-sospechosos-para-eua-tienen-negocios-en-c-del-este-950958.html. He has served as the owner and manager of the U.S.-designated Galería Page shopping center (today known as Shopping Uniamérica) in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, which reportedly serves as a “regional command post” for Hezbollah.“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; “Terrorist and Organized Crime Groups in the Tri-Border Area (TBA) of South America,” Library of Congress, July 2003, 2, 20, https://www.loc.gov/rr/frd/pdf-files/TerrOrgCrime_TBA.pdf. Abdallah has also been linked to Hezbollah’s 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people and injured over 300.Armando Rivarola, “Hezbollah en Triple Frontera, la realidad más allá del mito,” ABC Color (Asunción), May 14, 2017, http://www.abc.com.py/edicion-impresa/politica/hezbollah-en-triple-frontera-la-realidad-mas-alla-del-mito-1593540.html; Harriet Alexander, “The Buenos Aires bomb, the Iranian allegations, and the accusations against Cristina Kirchner,” Telegraph (London), January 19, 2015, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/southamerica/argentina/11356031/The-Buenos-Aires-bomb-the-Iranian-allegations-and-the-accusations-against-Cristina-Kirchner.html.

Abdallah reportedly immigrated to the TBA from Lebanon prior to 1982.Jeffrey Goldberg, “In the Party of God,” New Yorker, October 28, 2002 https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2002/10/28/in-the-party-of-god-2. According to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, he served as a personal courier of funds for Hezbollah, and also received funds from the group to fund its activities in the TBA.“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. For example, in 1994, Abdallah built a mosque called the Mosque of the Prophet Muhammad in central Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, using funds allegedly donated by Hezbollah.Jeffrey Goldberg, “In the Party of God,” New Yorker, October 28, 2002 https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2002/10/28/in-the-party-of-god-2; “Los nueve árabes sospechosos para EUA tienen negocios en C. del Este,” ABC Color (Asución), December 17, 2006, http://www.abc.com.py/edicion-impresa/policiales/los-nueve-arabes-sospechosos-para-eua-tienen-negocios-en-c-del-este-950958.html. Abdallah also served as an owner and manager of the Galería Page shopping center (today known as Shopping Uniamérica) in Ciudad del Este, which reportedly serves as a “regional command post” for Hezbollah.“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; “Terrorist and Organized Crime Groups in the Tri-Border Area (TBA) of South America,” Library of Congress, July 2003, 2, 20, https://www.loc.gov/rr/frd/pdf-files/TerrOrgCrime_TBA.pdf. Abdallah would reportedly give Hezbollah a portion of his income based on his profits from Galería Page.“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. In a 2002 interview with the New Yorker, Abdallah denied his links to Hezbollah and instead claimed that he had only donated to the group under pressure.Jeffrey Goldberg, “In the Party of God,” New Yorker, October 28, 2002 https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2002/10/28/in-the-party-of-god-2. Nonetheless, the U.S. Treasury reported that he hosted a major fundraiser for Hezbollah in the TBA in 2004, and also traveled to Lebanon several times to meet with the group’s leadership.“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.

According to the U.S. Treasury, Abdallah has been involved in several other illicit activities, including the import of contraband electronics, passport falsification, credit card fraud, and the trafficking of counterfeit U.S. dollars.“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. Abdallah reportedly co-operated a travel agency in Foz do Iguaçu called Piloto Turismo that provided the perpetrators of the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires with false passports and a base for communication.Armando Rivarola, “Hezbollah en Triple Frontera, la realidad más allá del mito,” ABC Color (Asunción), May 14, 2017, http://www.abc.com.py/edicion-impresa/politica/hezbollah-en-triple-frontera-la-realidad-mas-alla-del-mito-1593540.html.

Abdallah was designated as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist by the U.S. Department of the Treasury on December 6, 2006.“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. According to the designation, he held both Lebanese and Paraguayan citizenship and both a Lebanese and Paraguayan passport at the time.“Recent OFAC Actions,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, December 6, 2006, https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/OFAC-Enforcement/pages/20061206.aspx.

 
United States

The U.S. Department of the Treasury designated “Muhammad Yusif Abdallah” as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13224 on December 6, 2006.“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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