WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury designated the former Lebanese Minister of Information and Tourism, Michel Samaha, pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13441 which targets persons undermining Lebanese sovereignty, including those who are supporting attempts by the Asad regime to incite violence inside Lebanon.
The Department of State concurrently designated Michel Samaha as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under E.O. 13224. As a result of today's action, U.S. persons are prohibited from engaging in any transactions with Samaha, and any assets Samaha holds under U.S. jurisdiction are frozen.
"The United States will continue to expose any attempts by the Asad regime to meddle in the affairs of its neighbors and further destabilize the region," said Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen. "We will continue to work with our international partners to ensure that the sovereignty of Lebanon is respected and upheld."
Samaha, a former Lebanese Minister of Information and Tourism, was arrested by Lebanese authorities in August 2012 for plotting to carry out terrorist attacks in Lebanon.
Samaha has remained in Lebanese custody and has been charged with plotting to assassinate political and religious figures in Lebanon through targeted bombings. The goal of these attacks appears to have been an attempt to incite sectarian strife in northern Lebanon.
Samaha was also accused of transporting explosives for the planned attacks into Lebanon. In August 2012, Samaha provided explosives and cash to a paid accomplice. On August 9, 2012, the Lebanese Internal Security Forces (ISF) arrested Samaha and brought him to ISF headquarters where, after being confronted with the evidence against him, Samaha admitted to complicity in the plot.
Samaha reportedly received the explosives from former Syrian General Intelligence Directorate Chief and current head of the Syrian National Security Bureau Ali Mamluk (Mamluk) while visiting Syria. Information available to the U.S. government indicates that in July 2012 Mamluk was involved in a plot with Samaha to conduct bombing attacks against Lebanese political and religious figures in northern Lebanon, and Mamluk provided money and explosives to Samaha for that purpose. In April 2012 Mamluk was listed in the annex of E.O. 13606 which targets those engaging in grave human rights abuses by the government of Syria via information technology. In April 2011 Mamluk was also listed in the annex of E.O. 13572 which targets persons committing human rights abuses in Syria.
Individual: Michel Samaha
AKA: Mishal Fuad Samahah
AKA: Saadah Al-Naib Mishal Fuad Samahah
DOB: September 9, 1948
POB: Jouar, Lebanon
Passport No. 1: 7012003 COI Lebanon
Passport No. 2: PE385243, COI Canada