Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Ambassador Elizabeth Richard Congratulates the Lebanese Armed Forces

By  | 21 August, 2019 

On August 21, Ambassador Elizabeth Richard and U.S. military representatives attended a live-fire exercise conducted by the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) at the Akoura military complex.  In remarks to the press, Ambassador Richard congratulated the LAF for demonstrating outstanding professionalism and sophistication in safely executing complex maneuvers using advanced-technology weaponry and equipment, calling the live-fire exercise an "extremely challenging operation with lots of moving parts," and noting that "the communication among all of the elements was extraordinary." Ambassador Richard stated "it was my honor to be a guest of the LAF," adding that "we are firm believers in this army and I hope every Lebanese believes in this Army, as well."

The live-fire exercise employed a variety of military equipment, including Bradley vehicles, A-29 aircraft, Huey helicopters, and Humvees, to perform a broad range of air and ground maneuvers, including surveillance, attack, and search-and-rescue operations. The military equipment provided through U.S. military assistance is maintained and operated by Lebanese soldiers and airmen, demonstrating the capacity of the LAF to generate trained and ready forces for operations, the core goal of the U.S.-Lebanon Protected Mobility Program.  In comments to the press, the Ambassador highlighted last week's delivery of Humvees and security equipment, valued at over $60 million. Since 2006, the U.S. government has provided Lebanon over $1.7 billion in security assistance.


Paraguay’s Designation of Hizballah as a Terrorist Organization

PRESS STATEMENT
MICHAEL R. POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE
AUGUST 21, 2019

We commend Paraguay for designating Hizballah, al-Qa'ida, ISIS, and Hamas as terrorist organizations.  This important step will help cut off the ability of these groups to plot terrorist attacks and to raise money around the world, including in the Western Hemisphere.

The world is increasingly recognizing Hizballah for what it is – not a defender of Lebanon as it purports to be, but a terrorist organization dedicated to advancing Iran's malicious agenda.  Like al-Qa'ida and ISIS, Hizballah has a global reach, with operations and plots disrupted in recent years in the Americas, the Middle East, Europe, Africa, and Asia.

With this action, Paraguay joins other nations in designating Hizballah, including most recently Argentina, Kosovo, and the United Kingdom, in addition to Australia, Canada, the Gulf Cooperation Council, and the Arab League.  We call on others around the world to follow suit.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo And Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri Treaty Room Washington, D.C.

REMARKS
MICHAEL R. POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE
TREATY ROOM
WASHINGTON D.C.
AUGUST 15, 2019

SECRETARY POMPEO:  Good afternoon, everyone.  Mr. Prime Minister, welcome.  If you'd like to proceed with your remarks.

PRIME MINISTER HARIRI:  Sure.  Today, I met Secretary Pompeo, whom I consider a great friend of Lebanon.  I thanked him for the U.S. Government's continued support to Lebanon and especially of the Lebanese Armed Forces and national security forces.  I reaffirmed our partnership and joint commitment to the fight against terrorism.

I also confirmed to the Secretary our commitment to continuing the negotiation process led by Ambassador Satterfield on behalf of the U.S. Government concerning our land and maritime borders.  The proposal was communicated to the president of the republic and the speaker of the parliament and to me.  We consider the process to be viable and will continue to support constitutional next step leading up to a final decision in the coming months, hopefully September.

Equally, there is a continued support for the CEDRE Conference and Capital Investment Plan, which are essential to the revival of the Lebanese economy.  We are dedicated to advancing these initiatives which will bolster security and stability for Lebanon and the region.  Thank you.

SECRETARY POMPEO:  Thank you.  Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister, and welcome again.

I've gotten to know the prime minister well over the past years, and I appreciate you coming to join and have a visit here today.  During our conversation, I reiterated the United States commitment to a bright future for the people of Lebanon.  And as part of that commitment, we continue to support the credible state institutions inside of Lebanon.  They are essential to preserving Lebanese security, stability, and sovereignty, and they are essential to making sure that the needs of all of the Lebanese people are met.

They are also essential to an effective response to the many political, economic, and humanitarian challenges in Lebanon.  This is a region that is threatened by Iran and is a nation threatened by its proxy Hizballah, and we welcome the prime minister's courageous commitment to keep taking full responsibility for Lebanon's defense.

We also welcome his commitment to undertake the ambitious and necessary reforms which will unlock future international assistance for Lebanon's economy.  And we want to say thank you as well, and welcome to the commitment that they have made to providing refugees, especially the now more than 1 million that have come from Syria into Lebanon.  You've provided them shelter from the repressive and depraved Assad regime, and we appreciate that.  And we look forward to continuing to make further progress on our partnership.

I also am very appreciative of the prime minister's statement about the commitment to make progress towards the resumption of productive expert-level discussions for the handful of remaining points with respect to the Blue Line and the initiation discussions on the Israel-Lebanon maritime border.  We are prepared to participate as a mediator and facilitator in the maritime discussions, and we do hope that we will soon see substantive discussions on these important issues, the resolution of which would be greatly beneficial to Lebanon and to the broader region.

Mr. Prime Minister, thank you again for visiting today.

PRIME MINISTER HARIRI:  Thank you so much.

SECRETARY POMPEO:  Good luck to you.  It was great to be with you.  Thank you.  Thank you, all.



Friday, August 09, 2019

Lebanese Businessman Tied by Treasury Department to Hezbollah is Sentenced to Prison for Money Laundering Scheme Involving the Evasion of U.S. Sanctions

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, August 8, 2019

The operator of a network of businesses in Lebanon and Africa whom the U.S. Department of the Treasury designated as a financier of  Hezbollah, the Lebanon-based terrorist group, was sentenced to five years in prison and ordered to forfeit $50 million by U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton of the District of Columbia.

Kassim Tajideen, 63, had previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments in furtherance of violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA).  In 2009, the U.S. Department of the Treasury designated Tajideen as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist based on his tens of millions of dollars of financial support of Hezbollah.  The designation prohibited Tajideen from being involved in, or benefiting from, transactions involving U.S. persons or companies without a license from the Department of the Treasury.

"This defendant knowingly violated sanctions and put our nation's security at risk," said Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Criminal Division.  "His sentencing and the $50 million forfeiture in this case are just the latest public examples of the Department of Justice's ongoing efforts to disrupt and dismantle Hezbollah and its support networks."

"Today's sentencing highlights our efforts to prosecute those who violate sanctions meant to stem the flow of money to terrorists groups," said U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu for the District of Columbia. "Our message to those who violate sanctions is that you will be found, and you will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law."

"This is the latest example of DEA's success against Hezbollah's global criminal support network and our commitment to interagency collaboration in combatting the overall threat posed by this transnational criminal organization," said Acting Special Agent in Charge of DEA's Special Operations Division Michael J. Machak.

According to the statement of facts signed by Tajideen in conjunction with his plea, after his designation, Tajideen conspired with at least five other persons to conduct over $50 million in transactions with U.S. businesses that violated these prohibitions.  In addition, Tajideen and his co-conspirators knowingly engaged in transactions outside of the United States, which involved transmissions of as much as $1 billion through the United States financial system from places outside the United States.

Tajideen's case falls under DEA's Project Cassandra, which targets Hezbollah's global criminal support network, which operates as a logistics, procurement and financing arm for Hezbollah.  This investigation and others are part of the Department of Justice's Hezbollah Financing and Narcoterrorism Team (HFNT).  The HFNT was formed in January 2018 to ensure an aggressive and coordinated approach to prosecutions and investigations, including Project Cassandra cases, targeting the individuals and networks supporting Hezbollah.  Comprised of experienced international narcotics trafficking, terrorism, organized crime, and money laundering prosecutors and investigators, the HFNT works closely with partners like the DEA, the Department of the Treasury, and the FBI, among others, to advance and facilitate prosecutions of Hezbollah and its support network in appropriate cases.

This case was investigated by DEA SOD's Counter Narcoterrorism Operations Center (CNTOC) and the DEA New Jersey Field Division, with support from the CPB's National Targeting Center/Counter Network Division, the U.S. Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the Criminal Division's Office of International Affairs, and the Counterintelligence and Export Control Section of the National Security Division.

The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Joseph Palazzo of the Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Thomas A. Gillice, Luke Jones, Karen Seifert and Deborah Curtis and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacqueline L. Barkett of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Foreign Corruption
Press Release Number: 
19-852

Thursday, August 08, 2019

Statement of the Ambassador of the United States to Lebanon, Elizabeth Richard

By U.S. Embassy Beirut | 7 August, 2019 |
The United States supports fair and transparent judicial review without any political interference. Any attempt to use the tragic June 30 event in Qabr el-Shamoun to advance political objectives should be rejected. The US has conveyed in clear terms to Lebanese authorities our expectation that they will handle this matter in a way that achieves justice without politically motivated inflammation of sectarian or communal tensions.

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Counter Terrorism Designation Update

8/6/2019

OFFICE OF FOREIGN ASSETS CONTROL

Specially Designated Nationals List Update

The following changes have been made to OFAC's SDN List:
 
SERHAN, Fadi Hussein (a.k.a. SARHAN, Fadi Husayn; a.k.a. SIRHAN, Fadi), Own Building, Kanisat Marmkhael, Saliba Street, Corniche, Al-Mazraa, Beirut, Lebanon; Jaafar Building, Mazraa Street, Beirut, Lebanon; Jaafar Building, Mseytbi Street, Beirut, Lebanon; Jaafar Building, Salim Slam Street, Beirut, Lebanon; Jishi Building, Salim Slam Street, Beirut, Lebanon; Own Building, Main Street, Kfar Kila, Lebanon; DOB 01 Apr 1961; POB Kafr Kila, Lebanon; nationality Lebanon; Additional Sanctions Information - Subject to Secondary Sanctions Pursuant to the Hizballah Financial Sanctions Regulations; Gender Male; Passport RL0962973 (Lebanon) (individual) [SDGT] (Linked To: HIZBALLAH). -to- SERHAN, Fadi Hussein (a.k.a. SARHAN, Fadi Husayn; a.k.a. SIRHAN, Fadi), Own Building, Kanisat Marmkhael, Saliba Street, Corniche, Al-Mazraa, Beirut, Lebanon; Jaafar Building, Mazraa Street, Beirut, Lebanon; Jaafar Building, Mseytbi Street, Beirut, Lebanon; Jaafar Building, Salim Slam Street, Beirut, Lebanon; Jishi Building, Salim Slam Street, Beirut, Lebanon; Own Building, Main Street, Kfar Kila, Lebanon; Mazraa, Salim Slam St., Borj Al Salam Bldg., Beirut, Lebanon; DOB 01 Apr 1961; POB Kafr Kila, Lebanon; alt. POB Kfarkela, Lebanon; nationality Lebanon; Gender Male; Passport RL 0962973 (Lebanon) expires 08 Feb 2012; alt. Passport RL 3203273 expires 20 May 2020; VisaNumberID 87810564 (United States); alt. VisaNumberID F0962973 (individual) [SDGT] [HIFPAA].​