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U.S. offers up to $10 million rewards for information on hizballah’s financial networks

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The U.S. Department of State’s Rewards for Justice Program is offering a reward of up to $10 million for information leading to the disruption of the financial mechanisms of the global terrorist organization Lebanese Hizballah, officials said at a press briefing in Washington D.C. on Monday.

The Rewards for Justice Program is an effective law enforcement tool and is administered by the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service

Since its inception in 1984, the program has paid in excess of $150 million to more than 100 people who provided actionable information that helped bring terrorists to justice or prevented acts of international terrorism worldwide.

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The announcement marks the first time that the Department has offered a reward for information on Hizballah’s global financial networks.

The US government said rewards can be provided for information leading to the identification and disruption of:

  • a source of revenue for Hizballah or its key financial facilitation mechanisms;
  • major Hizballah donors or financial facilitators;
  • financial institutions or exchange houses facilitating Hizballah transactions;
  • businesses or investments owned or controlled by Hizballah or its financiers;
  • front companies engaged in international procurement of dual-use technology on behalf of Hizballah; and
  • criminal schemes involving Hizballah members and supporters which financially benefit the organization.

Hizballah is a Lebanon-based terrorist organization that receives weapons, training, and funding from Iran, which the Secretary of State designated as a state sponsor of terrorism in 1984.  Hizballah generates about a billion dollars a year from a combination of direct financial support from Iran, international businesses and investments, donor networks, and money laundering activities.  The State Department designated Hizballah as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) in October 1997 under the Immigration and Nationality Act, and as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) in October 2001 under Executive Order (E.O.) 13224. 

In addition to Hizballah’s global financial networks, the State Department is highlighting the following three individuals as examples of the type of key Hizballah financiers or facilitators about whom it seeks information.  All three have been designated by the U.S. Department of the Treasury as SDGTs:

Adham Tabaja is a Hizballah member who maintains direct ties to senior Hizballah organizational elements, including the group’s operational component, Islamic Jihad. Tabaja also holds properties in Lebanon on behalf of the group and conducts business throughout the Middle East and West Africa.  He is majority owner of the Lebanon-based real estate development and construction firm Al-Inmaa Group for Tourism Works.  The Treasury Department designated Tabaja, Al-Inmaa Group for Tourism Works, and its subsidiaries as SDGTs in June 2015.

Photo: Simon Ateba

Mohammad Ibrahim Bazzi is a key Hizballah financier who has provided millions of dollars to Hizballah generated from his business activities in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.  He owns or controls Global Trading Group NV, Euro African Group LTD, Africa Middle East Investment Holding SAL, Premier Investment Group SAL Offshore, and Car Escort Services S.A.L. Off Shore.  The Treasury Department designated Bazzi and his affiliated companies as SDGTs in May 2018.

Ali Youssef Charara is a key Hizballah financier as well as Chairman and General Manager of Lebanon-based telecommunications company Spectrum Investment Group Holding SAL, and has extensive business interests in the telecommunications industry in West Africa.  Charara has received millions of dollars from Hizballah to invest in commercial projects that financially support the terrorist group.  The Treasury Department designated Charara and Spectrum Investment Group as SDGTs in January 2016.

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Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba
Based in Washington, District of Columbia, United States of America, Simon leads a brilliant team of reporters, freelance journalists, analysts, researchers and contributors from around the world to run TODAY NEWS AFRICA as editor-in-chief. Simon Ateba's journalistic experience spans over 10 years and covers many beats, including business and investment, information technology, politics, diplomacy, human rights, science reporting and much more. Write him: simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com

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