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Press Center

 Treasury Targets Hizballah Fundraising Network in the Triple Frontier of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay


12/6/2006

HP-190

The U.S. Department of the Treasury today designated nine individuals and two entities that have provided financial and logistical support to the Hizballah terrorist organization. The designees are located in the Tri-Border Area (TBA) of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay and have provided financial and other services for Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) Assad Ahmad Barakat, who was previously designated in June 2004 for his support to Hizballah leadership.

"Assad Ahmad Barakat's network in the Tri-Border Area is a major financial artery to Hizballah in Lebanon," said Adam Szubin, Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). "Today's action aims to disrupt this channel and to further unravel Barakat's financial network."

This designation was taken pursuant to Executive Order 13224, which is aimed at shutting down the financial flows supporting terrorism. Designations prohibit transactions or dealings between U.S. persons and the named individuals and entities and also freeze any assets they may have under U.S jurisdiction.

Identifying Information

Muhammad Yusif Abdallah

Muhammad Yusif Abdallah is a senior Hizballah leader in the TBA and an important contributor of funds to Hizballah, notably hosting a fundraiser for the terrorist group in the TBA in 2004. Abdallah has personally carried money for Hizballah, serving as a courier of Hizballah funds from the TBA to Lebanon. He has traveled to Lebanon to maintain connections to the Hizballah hierarchy and has met with members of Hizballah's security division. Likewise, Abdallah has also received money from Hizballah to support the Hizballah network in the TBA.

Abdallah is an owner and manager of the Galeria Page building in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, a shopping center with several businesses owned by Hizballah members. He reportedly pays a percentage of his income to Hizballah based on profits he receives from Galeria Page. In addition to his Hizballah-related activities, Abdallah has also been involved in the import of contraband electronics, passport falsification, credit card fraud, and trafficking counterfeit U.S. dollars.

Hamzi Ahmad Barakat

Hamzi Ahmad Barakat is a member of Hizballah in the TBA suspected of trafficking in narcotics, counterfeit U.S. dollars, arms, and explosives. He has owned and held the position of general manager of Casa Hamze, a store in the Galeria Page shopping center that has employed Hizballah members and has served as a source of funding for Hizballah. Hamzi Ahmad Barakat and SDGT Assad Ahmad Barakat are brothers and have been partners at Casa Hamze.

Hatim Ahmad Barakat

Information passed from the Barakat network to Hizballah in Lebanon goes mainly through two individuals: SDGT Assad Ahmad Barakat and his brother Hatim Ahmad Barakat. Hatim Ahmad Barakat has traveled to Chile to collect funds intended for Hizballah, and as of early 2003, he was reported to be a significant shareholder in at least two businesses in Iquique, Chile believed to generate funds in support of Hizballah. Hatim Ahmad Barakat traveled frequently to Iquique, Chile and is possibly managing or assisting a group of suspected Hizballah members. Hatim Ahmad Barakat reportedly oversees the sending of funds from Iquique to Hizballah in Lebanon.

Hatim Ahmad Barakat has maintained business relationships with senior Hizballah leaders in the TBA and is deeply involved in Assad Ahmad Barakat's business affairs, having co-owned several companies with him. Hatim Ahmad Barakat co-owned SDGT Casa Apollo with brothers Assad and Hamzi Ahmad Barakat.

Muhammad Fayez Barakat

Muhammad Fayez Barakat is responsible for the Barakat network's finances in the TBA, and in this capacity he arranges the transfer of money from the TBA to the Middle East. As recently as July 2006, Muhammad Fayez Barakat collected money on behalf of Hizballah in the TBA, hosting fundraisers for Hizballah in the region and sending money to the terrorist group in Lebanon. Muhammad Fayez Barakat has also provided financial assistance to his cousin, SDGT Assad Ahmad Barakat.

Muhammad Tarabain Chamas

Muhammad Tarabain Chamas is a member of Hizballah in the TBA, specifically Hizballah's counterintelligence element in the TBA and provides Hizballah with security information on residents there. Muhammad Tarabain Chamas is the private secretary for senior TBA Hizballah leader Muhammad Yusif Abdallah and the principal administrator of the Galeria Page building in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay. In addition to maintaining close contacts with TBA Hizballah members, Muhammad Tarabain Chamas maintains daily contact with Hizballah members in Lebanon and Iran and has transported funds from Hizballah members in the TBA to Hizballah in Lebanon.

Saleh Mahmoud Fayad

Saleh Mahmoud Fayad has served as a counterintelligence operative for Hizballah in the TBA, and as of late July 2006, collected money on behalf of Hizballah in the TBA. In 2000, Saleh Mahmoud Fayad reportedly traveled to Lebanon and Iran and met with senior Hizballah leadership.

Sobhi Mahmoud Fayad

Sobhi Mahmoud Fayad has been a senior TBA Hizballah official who served as a liaison between the Iranian embassy and the Hizballah community in the TBA. He has also been a professional Hizballah operative who has traveled to Lebanon and Iran to meet with Hizballah leaders. Fayad received military training in Lebanon and Iran and was involved in illicit activities involving drugs and counterfeit U.S. dollars. Sobhi Mahmoud Fayad has also served as Assad Ahmad Barakat's executive assistant.

Sobhi Mahmoud Fayad was sentenced to a six and a half year prison sentence in Paraguay for tax evasion. During his trial in 2002, the counterterrorism unit of the Paraguayan National Police described Sobhi Mahmoud Fayad's money transfers to a Hizballah-controlled charity in Lebanon.

Ali Muhammad Kazan

According to information available to the U.S. Government, Ali Muhammad Kazan possibly succeeded Assad Ahmad Barakat as the leader in the political structure of Hizballah in the TBA. He also reportedly served as a commanding member of counterintelligence for Hizballah in the TBA. As of August 2006, Ali Muhammad Kazan helped raise more that $500,000 for Hizballah from Lebanese businessmen in the TBA. Since 2001, he traveled frequently to Lebanon to receive guidance and instructions from Hizballah leaders, including a message from Hizballah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah. Ali Muhammad Kazan also maintained close commercial ties to SDGT Assad Ahmad Barakat.

Farouk Omairi

Farouk Omairi is a principal member of the Hizballah community in the TBA and served as a coordinator for Hizballah members in the region. Farouk Omairi has been a key figure in the procurement of false Brazilian and Paraguayan documentation and has assisted individuals in the TBA with obtaining Brazilian citizenship illegally through the submission of false documentation. Farouk Omairi was also involved in narco-trafficking operations between South America, Europe, and the Middle East.

Casa Hamze

Casa Hamze is an electronics company located at the Galeria Page shopping center in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay. The store is owned by Hizballah member Hamzi Ahmad Barakat and has employed Hizballah members in the TBA. Money was reportedly sent from Casa Hamze to Hizballah.

Galeria Page

Galeria Page, a shopping center in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, serves as a source of fundraising for Hizballah in the TBA and is locally considered the central headquarters for Hizballah members in the TBA. Galeria Page is managed and owned by TBA Hizballah members, including members of the Barakat network. Local Hizballah members operate businesses within Galeria Page and funds generated from these businesses support Hizballah. Muhammad Yusif Abdallah, a manager of Galeria Page, paid a regular quota to Hizballah based on profits he received from Galeria Page. Shops in the building have also been involved in illicit activity, including the sale of counterfeit U.S. dollars.

For more information on the designation of Assad Ahmad Barakat, please visit: http://www.treasury.gov/press/releases/js1720.htm.

 

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