Lebanese businessman convicted of financing Hezbollah in US returns home

Kassim Tajideen was serving a five-year prison term in the United States for providing millions of dollars to Hezbollah in a money laundering scheme

Kassim Tajideen, convicted of being a Hezbollah financier, at his residence in Beirut following his release from a US prison. AFP
Kassim Tajideen, convicted of being a Hezbollah financier, at his residence in Beirut following his release from a US prison. AFP

A Lebanese businessman serving a five-year sentence in the US for providing Hezbollah with millions of dollars arrived in Beirut yesterday after an early release, local media reported.

Kassim Tajideen was sentenced last year in a federal court in Washington for his role in a money laundering conspiracy designed to evade US sanctions.

He was arrested in Morocco and extradited to the US in 2017, where he was charged with laundering money for Hezbollah.

Lebanon’s National News Agency reported on Tajideen’s arrival as he stepped out of a small jet.

Footage shows a man rushing towards Tajideen, who is wearing a face mask, and hugging him.

A federal judge had ordered the release of Tajideen, 64, in May.

He was granted a compassionate release because of health conditions and fears that he may contract coronavirus in prison.

The US Department of Justice had contested the release.

Tajideen was accused of conspiring with at least five other people to conduct transactions worth more than $50 million (Dh183.6m) with US businesses, in breach of sanctions.

He had been barred from doing business with US nationals and companies because of his support for Hezbollah.

Washington has designated Iran-backed Hezbollah a terrorist group.

Mr Tajideen pleaded guilty last December and agreed to forfeit $50m.

In March, a Lebanese military tribunal ordered the release of a Lebanese-American held in the country for nearly six months on charges of working for an Israeli-backed militia two decades ago. Amer Fakhoury’s release raised speculation that Tajideen may be granted an early release in return.

Mr Fakhoury, 57, who had faced decades-old murder and torture charges in Lebanon, became a US citizen last year, and is now a restaurant owner in Dover, New Hampshire. US officials had called for imposing sanctions on Lebanon to pressure Beirut to release him.

Updated: July 8, 2020 07:47 PM

SHARE

Editor's Picks
NEWSLETTERS
Sign up to:

* Please select one

Most Read