Posts Tagged ‘Hezbollah’

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Financial war on terror: recommended reading

August 21, 2014
  • Time for a good old-fashioned asset freeze, arms embargo, and international travel ban against 6 ISIS terrorists… more>>
  • The beltway chatter is that the U.S. can’t do much to stop the financing of ISIS because it makes millions locally, which is harder to interdict that international funds transfers. Newsmax disagrees… more>>
  • ISIS may be behind high-profile cyber-hacks against Tony Blair, P-Diddy, and banks in order to finance their terror in Iraq… more>>
  • A British mosque will host a fundraiser with a speaker from the radical Hizb ut-Tahrirmore>>
  • U.S. taxpayer dollars fund UNRWA, a UN agency in the Palestinian territories staffed by a Hamas-run labor union whose members’ salaries are siphoned by Hamas as union dues… more>>
  • The German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung reports that the main civilian airport is Iran has been transformed into a “hub of terror” for arms shipments by the IRGC to Hezbollah… more>>
  • The feds will force 21,550 banks to mine more data on 8 million accounts a year. The American Bankers Association asks, “Once you have that information, what do you do with it?” more>>
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10 companies that make money from terror ties

July 15, 2014

Longtime Money Jihad readers already know that sharia banks are conduits for funding jihadist groups, but may not be aware of some of the other corporations and businesses that are in financial cahoots with terrorists.

  1. Tajco Ltd.—A Lebanese-based company that uses supermarkets to launder South American drug money through grocery stores in Gambia back to Lebanon for dispersal to Hezbollah. According to former Treasury official Stuart Levey, Tajco and its subsidiaries constitute a “multinational network [that] generates millions of dollars in funding and secures strategic geographical strongholds for Hizballah.”
  2. Dahabshiil—A money services business (technically a remittance company, not a bank) that pays a $500K stipend twice a year to al-Shabaab. Somali journalists and musicians have alleged that the payments aren’t just for “protection,” (ie, the freedom to operate in Somalia without being bombed) but that Dahabshiil shares tribal links and policy goals with the terrorist group.
  3. Al-Aqsa TV—The U.S. describes the media outlet as “a television station in Gaza financed and controlled by Hamas.” Hamas raised the initial capital to create Al-Aqsa TV, negotiated for a satellite provider, and allocates money for its budget. Its programming seeks to prepare children to join and fight for Hamas as they age.
  4. Crescent Foods—the “caterers of the Muslim Brotherhood.” Crescent Foods is routinely selected to provide food at conferences and functions held by a variety of North American Muslim Brotherhood front groups and affiliates including the radical American Muslims for Palestine and organizational co-conspirators of the Holy Land Foundation, a defunct Hamas front charity. Crescent Foods also markets halal foods to the constituencies of these Islamist groups.
  5. Sniper Africa—A South African hunting gear company which is majority owned by a dentist who raised $120,000 for Al Qaeda. OFAC has listed Sniper Africa under its specially designated global terrorist category.
  6. Zurmat Group—A company operating in Afghanistan that sells components that wind up in roadside bombs against our troops. Additionally, the Army Times found that “approximately $1-2 million per month — flow to [the Haqqani network] to finance its activities” from Zurmat Group profits. CENTCOM describes the company as actively supporting the insurgency.
  7. Darkazanli Export-Import Sonderposten—Owned and operated by Imam Mamoun Darkazanli, a longtime Al-Qaeda financier and manager. Darkazanli supports al Qaeda from Hamburg, Germany, and behaved as a type of godfather figure to the Muhammad Atta cell as it prepared for the 9/11 attacks. Darkazanli’s company has provided “cover, business collaboration and communications” for Al Qaeda figures visiting Germany.
  8. The Bank of China—The Chinese bank funded Hamas and Islamic Jihad when it “carried out dozens of wire transfers for the two terror organizations, totaling several million dollars,” from 2003 to 2007 according to a lawsuit by victims of terrorist attacks in Israel. The bank knowingly continued making such transfers even after being warned against it by the Israeli government in 2005.
  9. Jihad al-Bina—Hezbollah’s construction company in Lebanon. Its relationship with Hezbollah apparently transformed it from a $1.8 million business in the 1990s into a $450 million operation by 2006. It has been able to cash in on public contracts to rebuild Lebanese infrastructure through international development aid even though the firm is basically controlled by Hezbollah leaders and Iran.
  10. Al Manar/Lebanese Media Group—This Hezbollah news outlet serves as a “Beacon of Hatred” that runs advertisements encouraging donations to Hezbollah and airs commercials for Hezbollah. The television channel’s programming includes vitriolic anti-Semitic messages and glorification of suicide bombing operations.

In addition to the companies above, there are conventional Western corporations like Chiquita and Echo Bay that have have paid bribes or protection money to rebels or terrorists to prevent their employees and facilities from being attacked, and banks such as HSBC that have dropped the ball on anti-money laundering, sanctions compliance, and counter-terror finance programs. This is totally unacceptable behavior which ultimately helps finance terrorism and increases the odds that more corporations will be exploited by terrorists. At the same time, it should be recognized that these abysmal compliance programs resulted from a combination of mismanagement, lousy judgments, and long-term business motives, but not because of ideological alignment with the terrorists themselves.

A final note: there was an extremely popular article within the past year circulating the Internet about corporations making money off of the global war against terrorism (which itself was only the latest in a decade-long stream of Internet tirades and social media screeds against “war profiteering” in Afghanistan and Iraq). It should just be remembered that for every company allegedly making ungodly profits from providing basic security services that there are companies like those above that are actually funding or making money directly from terrorism. So when you run across articles like that, ask yourself a question: which seems worse to you—a greedy corporation that fights terrorism, or a greedy corporation that funds terrorism?

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Terror finance news: recommended reading

July 10, 2014
  • Babar Ahmad to be sentenced for managing websites that raised money for Chechen jihadists, the Taliban and Al Qaeda… more>>
  • Victims of Iran-backed terrorism could seize Iranian Internet domain names to satisfy $1.2 billion in judgments they’ve won in court… more>>
  • Businesses engaged in commerce in Panama and Venezuela should take note of a bill before Congress to prevent the financing of Hezbollahmore>>
  • A Muslim Brotherhood figure accepts a $140,000 check from a Hamas-linked Kuwaiti charity to build a new mosque in Switzerland… more>>
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Canada: Hezbollah immersed in organized crime

June 23, 2014

Indeed. Most terrorists either personally know or know somebody who knows an organized crime figure, and vice versa.

According to Hezbollah’s Iranian masters, criminal mischief is religiously justifiable so long as it is done to harm the enemies of Islam.

From Sun News on June 3:

Hezbollah tied to organized crime in Canada, says spy agency

MONTREAL – Hezbollah members in Canada are involved in organized crime, according to Canadian Security Intelligence Service reports and documents.

Members of the outlawed group – banned as a terrorist entity in Canada since 2002 – also are secretly engaging in fundraising, procurement of materials and intelligence gathering, according to a “threat assessment” report by the Integrated Terrorism Assessment Centre.

Hezbollah’s activities here were among the subjects the spy agency expressed concern about in a “top secret” 10-page letter he wrote and delivered last July to Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney, soon after he was sworn in…

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Terror finance & AML news: suggested reading

June 13, 2014
  • The Washington Post cites the “well versed” Money Jihad blog and its analysis of the world’s richest terrorist groups when sizing up ISIS’s new found wealth after its multi-million dollar seizure of the Mosul central bank… more>>
  • Given the Palestinian Authority’s new unity government with Hamas, Israel wants U.S. foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority to cease. Congress is one step ahead… more>>
  • A U.S. court decision leaves the door open to testimony from a key Israeli terror finance witness in the Bank of China case… more>>
  • Hers was a love for laundering drug money from Florida to Mexico, yet a judge saw fit to dismiss her indictment after she pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor. Some deterrent… more>>
  • Saudi Arabia is imposing financial sanctions against Hezbollah, its supporters, and its front businesses operating in the Kingdom… more>>

 

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5 big terror finance stories so far in 2014

May 30, 2014

Money Jihad has blogged or tweeted about all these news stories, but they’re all significant enough that they merit a second look by anybody interested in the topic of terror finance. Here are some of the most significant news articles and commentaries written about terrorist financing news developments of the year so far:

Australian money laundering bust: “Project Eligo” resulted in at least 105 arrests, 190 criminal charges, and over $500 million in assets seized in Australia since the beginning of the year. Exchange houses involved in the laundering operation were delivering a cut of profits to Hezbollah, illustrating the control that Hezbollah exerts over global financial transactions…more from the Sydney Morning Herald>>

Canada seizes $7 million in Iranian assets: The seizure is significant not only because it delivers justice to victims of Iranian-sponsored terrorism, but because it demonstrates the validity of the legal theory that terrorism can be partially bankrupted through litigation. Previous judgments have been just that—judgments without seizing or disbursing assets. Now legal methods prove that the lawyers of terrorists’ victims deserve a seat at the table along with military operations, intelligence, law enforcement, sanctions, and other counter-terror techniques…more from the CBC>>

Turkish corruption scandal: The ongoing Turkish corruption scandals boil down to a rivalry between two Islamists, Prime Minister Recep Erdogan and the cryptic Pennsylvania imam Fetullah Gulen. But the scandal has also revealed the degree to which Turkey has enabled Iranian sanctions evasion, and at the same time we’re learning more about Turkey’s support for Al Qaeda and Hamas…more from Jonathan Schanzer>>

Sanctions relief offered to Iran could fund terrorism. Easing Iranian sanctions as part of a larger diplomatic push offers no controls over how Iran uses the money. Not only will the money not be used to satisfy judgments won by the victims of Iranian terror, but the money could be given to the perpetrators of Iranian terror, including Hezbollah, the IRGC, Hamas, and the Quds Force…more from Adam Kredo of the Washington Free Beacon>>

Kuwait’s terror financing cabinet minister proves too hot to handle. Kuwait, whose hide the U.S. saved during the Gulf war, brazenly stabbed us in the back after 9/11 by failing to outlaw terrorist financing for 10 years. Then Kuwait added insult to injury in January by promoting a top private fundraiser for jihad in Syria to not one but two major government posts simultaneously. This prompted US Treasury officials to grow a spine and actually condemn Kuwait for rewarding this kind of person. Nayef al-Ajmi finally quit earlier this month… more from Reuters>>

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Hezbollah tells its cells to find new sources of money

May 23, 2014

Cash-strapped Iran can no longer lavish its overseas Hezbollah cells with money to finance their operations while simultaneously trying to revitalize its own economy and supply Bashar al-Assad’s government in Syria. Consequently, Hezbollah’s military command has instructed subordinate entities “to find new sources of funding,” according to the Lebanese newspaper, The Daily Star.

The good news is that Iran is still having a hard time funding all of its terrorist group proxies. The bad news is that those same groups are becoming more desperate and inventive as they’re weaned off the Iranian teat.

Hat tip to El Grillo:

Hezbollah cutting costs as Iranian aid dries up

Sources close to the central command at Hezbollah told The Daily Star that the party has begun to take budget-cutting measures due to the shortage of Iranian aid caused by the Islamic Republic’s tough economic situation.

Although Iran’s economy is expected to improve in the coming months if it reaches an agreement with the West over its nuclear program by a July 20 deadline, the Islamic Republic is also helping the Syrian government cover its fiscal deficit, a strain that is less likely to end soon.

The U.S. and European countries have been keen on monitoring Hezbollah’s funding sources in Latin America, Africa and other Asian countries, with a special focus on religious organizations connected to the party. These organizations and the businessmen involved with them are said to be the main source of donations in these countries. Recently, for example, Germany banned a charitable foundation after it discovered its connections to one of Hezbollah’s organizations.

Most of the money sent to Hezbollah comes from the African continent and is under the supervision of one of the party’s top officials, the sources said.

The sources also pointed to the huge financial impact of Hezbollah’s involvement in Syria.

Tehran, which uses Hezbollah as a tool to implement its regional agenda, wants to deepen its power and control in Syria, and the sources believe that it also plans to increase its strategic influence in south Lebanon. The claim is backed up by a recent statement by an aide to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Yahya Rahim Safavi, who controversially described south Lebanon as Iran’s first line of defense.

These difficult times have forced Hezbollah’s military wing – also known as the “Jihad Council” – to ask non-functional cells and the party’s external security apparatus to find new sources of funding. The instruction to these cells – which are spread around Russia, Romania, Germany, France and some parts of America – to find new sources of money seems especially urgent now that European security services are closely monitoring individuals suspected of being connected to Hezbollah.

According to sources in the party, Hezbollah has also fired many employees working within the party’s social, health, media and service institutions to cut costs.

In addition to this, the party has reduced its aid for Sunni civil and scholarly organizations that are close to Hezbollah…

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Bogus orphans charity banned, raided for financing Hezbollah

April 20, 2014

On April 8, German authorities announced a ban of the Hezbollah-funding Islamic “charity” known as Orphans Project Lebanon and raided their offices across the country.

Orphans Project Lebanon had been under scrutiny for several years. It lost its preferential tax treatment a few years ago, but was allowed to continue operating, as Money Jihad highlighted last year, partly because the EU did not consider Hezbollah to be a terrorist organization at the time. Since then, the EU has changed its policy, and German authorities have presumably been building their case against Orphans Project Lebanon behind the scenes.

Thanks to Puneet, Sal, and El Grillo for sending in links about this. From AFP/The Local:

Germany outlaws ‘Hezbollah fundraisers’

German authorities banned a group on Tuesday accused of raising millions of euros for Lebanese militant organization Hezbollah and helping the families of suicide bombers. Police staged raids across the country.

The interior ministry said it had outlawed the “Waisenkinderprojekt Libanon” (Orphan Children Project Lebanon) with immediate effect, although on Wednesday morning the group’s website was still up and running.

“The name of the group masks its actual purpose,” ministry state secretary Emily Haber said in a statement.

She said the organization, based in the western city of Essen, had raised €3.3 million in donations between 2007 and 2013 for the Lebanese Shahid Foundation, an “integral” part of Hezbollah.

The ministry said the funds were used to recruit fighters “to combat Israel, also with terrorist measures” and compensate the families of suicide bombers.

“Organizations that directly or indirectly from German soil oppose the state of Israel’s right to exist may not seek freedom of association protection,” Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière said in the statement.

He said the group’s goals violated Germany’s constitution.

Around 160 police officers searched premises across six states and confiscated cash, computers and 120 boxes of files. The raids took place in Berlin, North Rhine-Westphalia, Baden-Württemberg, Bremen, Lower Saxony and Rhineland Palatinate.

Two bank accounts with a total of around €104,000 were frozen but no arrests were made.

The ministry said it had kept Waisenkinderprojekt Libanon, which has about 80 members, under surveillance since 2009…

As Money Jihad has pointed out several times, orphans are often exploited by jihadist groups as a cover for transferring money toward their own purposes.

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Drug money bust reveals Hezbollah’s control

February 3, 2014

The Australian Crime Commission has foiled an international narco-trafficking and money laundering scheme involving 18 organized groups and 40 separate money laundering operations.  “Project Eligo” has resulted in 105 arrests, 190 criminal charges, and over $500 million in assets seized so far.

Agence France Presse (hat tips to Willauer Prosky and El Grillo) has the highlights of the story:

Australian police crack global money-laundering racket

Sydney — Australian police revealed Thursday they had cracked a major global money-laundering ring with operatives in more than 20 countries and funds syphoned off to groups reported to include Hezbollah.

The Australian Crime Commission said more than Aus$580 million (US$512 million) of drugs and assets had been seized, including Aus$26 million in cash, in a year-long sting codenamed Eligo targeting the offshore laundering of funds generated by outlaw motorcycle gangs, people-smugglers and others.

According to the ACC, the operation had disrupted 18 serious and organised crime groups and singled out 128 individuals of interest in more than 20 countries, tapping information from agencies including the United States Drug Enforcement Administration.

The full details of which countries had been involved were not revealed but acting ACC chief Paul Jevtovic said “the reality is that the Middle East and Southeast Asia have featured prominently”…

The Sydney Morning Herald noted that, “It is believed at least one of the ‘exchange houses’ used in the Australian laundering operation delivers a cut from every dollar it launders to Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, whose military wing has been proscribed in Australia as a terrorist group.”

Read the rest of this entry ?

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Jihad: now powered by amphetamines

January 31, 2014

Unlike poppies in Afghanistan, which the Taliban simply taxes on the basis of traditional Islamic law, terrorist organizations in Syria and Lebanon are taking things a step further by taking control the amphetamine trade lock, stock, and barrel.  All’s fair in love and war, especially when the war is against heretics, which is how the Sunnis regard the Alawites in Syria.  And smuggling “Captagon” is netting them $300 million, which is no chump change—it’s 10 times Al Qaeda’s budget at the time of 9/11.  That means plenty of firepower for the revolutionists.  The only upside for Assad is that his Shia sponsors from Hezbollah are in on the trade too.  What a mess.

The information comes from a Time article that was recently republished by AINA (h/t El Grillo):

Are Drugs Funding the Syrian Rebels?

Fifteen days into his job as Lebanon’s top drug-enforcement official, Colonel Ghassan Chams Eddine got a tip-off that something big was going down at the Beirut shipping port this summer. How big? Nearly 5.5 million tablets of a locally produced amphetamine expertly hidden inside an industrial water heater destined for Dubai. His men had to use acetylene torches to remove the white tablets, each embossed with an off-kilter yin-yang symbol and packed into 1,000-piece units in heat-sealed plastic bags. “The boiler was made in Syria, and the way the tablets were hidden, it was clear that they hadn’t been just stuffed inside,” says Chams Eddine. “That unit was formed around the drugs, at the factory.”

A week later, on Aug. 21, Chams Eddine got another tip-off. Six Syrian-made cargo trucks destined for Saudi Arabia from Lebanon were stopped just as they were about to cross the border. Each of the containers’ steel reinforcing ribs concealed a cleverly designed drawer packed with loose pills — 6 million of them in total. A few days later, a Syrian was caught at Beirut’s international airport with 11,000 tablets hidden in pastries. Then two more Syrians destined for Saudi Arabia were stopped at the airport with 8 kg of the stuff in their luggage.

In one month, Lebanese authorities confiscated more than $200 million worth of a potent amphetamine that is almost entirely unheard of in the West. But in the Persian Gulf, Captagon, as the amphetamine is known, is the most sought-after drug on the street, and the conflict in Syria, with its attendant lawlessness, is making it even easier to obtain.

As the war drags on, it is all the more likely that Captagon will take on a significant role funding warring parties in the conflict. The captured cargo trucks were owned by a Sunni Syrian clan long linked to the drug trade that fled the besieged city of Homs last year to set up shop in Lebanon, says Chams Eddine, who suspects that the proceeds may have been used in part to fund anti–Bashar Assad rebels. “They run two or three operations like that, and they can easily get $300 million. That would buy a lot of guns.”

But it’s not just Syrian Sunnis who are involved. Hizballah, the Iranian-funded and Lebanon-based militia that is fighting in Syria on behalf of President Assad, also has a hand in the trade, according to former U.S. Treasury official Matthew Levitt, a fellow at the Washington Institute and author of Hezbollah: The Global Footprint of Lebanon’s Party of God. “Hizballah has a long history of dabbling in the drug trade to help with funding, and Captagon, with its high profit margins, is to them just another business opportunity,” Levitt says. It’s not yet clear if Captagon finances the war effort directly, he adds, but profits from the trade, like Hizballah’s other criminal activities, help fund the organization, freeing up capacity for efforts elsewhere. A Hizballah security official tells TIME that the organization does not engage in drug trafficking, as the practice is considered sinful in Islam. However, he admits, Hizballah has worked with drug mafias for what he called security operations. “It was never to benefit or fund Hizballah, it was more to collect information. After all, the end justifies the means.”…

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Recommended reading: front charities, ATM bombings, and sanctions violations

January 30, 2014
  • Members of a terror cell that bombed ATM machines across Bahrain have been convicted for detonating explosives and laundering money… more>>
  • Money for training of Islamic militants around the world was routed through Vienna by the Turkish charity IHH, reports a Bosnian newspaper… more>>
  • An Iranian-U.S. dual citizen packed 44 boxes of blueprints and technical specs about the F-35 fighter jet and shipped them off to Iran.  Customs agents weren’t fooled by his shipping label: “House Hold Goods”… more>>
  • Four years after it was revealed that IFCO helped funnel money for George Galloway to Hamas, the IRS might strip IFCO of its tax-exempt status… more>>
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