Convicted Hezbollah Financier To Be Released From U.S. Custody

Kassim Tajideen To Be Granted An Early Release On Compassionate Grounds And Awaits Deportation In July

(New York, N.Y.) – Convicted Hezbollah financier and U.S.-designated a “global terrorist” Kassim Tajideen will be released early by the U.S. on compassionate grounds, according to multiple press reports. A court filing made on June 11 by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) indicated the 64-year-old Tajideen’s age and risk of contracting COVID-19 in prison factored into the release order. Both U.S. officials and Tajideen’s lawyers have denied that his release was part of a deal made with the Lebanese government in exchange for the return of a U.S.-Lebanese dual-national, Amer al-Fakhoury.  Lebanon accused Fakhoury, who was released and returned to the United States earlier this year, of torturing prisoners during the Israeli occupation of Lebanon as a member of the now-defunct Israeli-backed South Lebanon Army.

Before his March 2017 arrest, Tajideen and his two brothers—Hussain and Ali Taijdeen—operated multiple Hezbollah front companies across Africa and the Middle East. The Tajideens’ African business network extends across multiple industries including real estate, food processing, and the diamond industry. On March 7, 2017, a U.S. district attorney for the District of Columbia charged Tajideen with fraud, conspiracy, money laundering, and violating global terrorism sanctions regulations. According to the indictment, Tajideen conspired to carry out illegal transactions with U.S. companies for his own enrichment, and to “defraud” the U.S. through his businesses in Africa, Lebanon, and the United Arab Emirates. The indictment also claimed Tajideen concealed and falsely represented his activities on three occasions to the U.S. Treasury in 2010, 2012, and 2014. The charges stemmed from Project Cassandra, a two-year Drug Enforcement Administration investigation into Hezbollah’s global support network.

Five days after his indictment, Tajideen was arrested on an INTERPOL warrant at Casablanca’s airport in Morocco while traveling from Guinea to Beirut. He was shortly after extradited to the United States, where he pled not guilty to the charges. On December 6, 2018, Tajideen changed his plea to guilty on charges associated with evading U.S. sanctions imposed upon him. He admitted to conspiring with at least five other people in conducting over $50 million in transactions with U.S. businesses as well as engaging in foreign transactions amounting to over $1 billion. On August 8, 2019, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia sentenced Tajideen to five years in prison plus a $50 million forfeiture obligation.

To read CEP’s Kassim Tajideen resource, please click here.

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