When Kassim Tajideen left got out of the Belgian jails after paying €150,000; he thought that his financial problems are now behind him. Little did he know that the winds were blowing from the west and will soon make their way towards the rest of his businesses. It was at that same year, that the gates of hell opened up to him.
On May 27, the US Treasury Department listed Tajideen on the “International Terror” list, alongside Abdul-Moneim Kobeissi. The charge leveled was that he is “an key financial contributor to Hezbollah through operating a network of companies between Lebanon and Africa.”
The department’s statement said that Tajideen has contributed tens of millions of dollars to Hezbollah, and that he had transferred these funds through his brother (Ali Tajideen). They added that Tajideen and his siblings’ companies covered up Hezbollah financing operations. The statement also associated between the listing and the unsubstantiated charges of money laundering and blood diamond trade in Antwerp.
Tajideen commented on the decision by saying: “I was surprised because I had thought America was a democracy. A friend of mine called me and woke me up in the middle of the night to let me know. The next day I saw a lawyer in Belgium, even though I still did not understand what it all meant.” In the beginning he hired a lawyer based in the US, but he was not satisfied with the progress of the case, so he resorted to a Lebanese lawyer by the name Shibley Al-Mallat.
Mallat took the case upon himself, and from the very beginning he told Tajideen that if he were to hide anything from him, then he would rather not take the case. If at later point in the case any evidence were to arise that proved he had financially supported Hezbollah, I would stop defending him; Mallat himself told “The Guardian” in an interview.
Things got complicated as Tajideen hired a Washington based law firm called “Wilmerhale” in addition to an international accounting firm. All his attempts did not stand in the way of his name being listed once again in 2015 on the sanctions list, but this time the charges had changed. The 2015 charges were due to his “Unspecified donations to Hezbollah run schools and the employment of two members of the party”. Between the years 2009 and 2015, much was revealed about the relationship between Tajideen and his brothers in Africa. Many questions were also raised about the nature of their business in Lebanon.
This has been part 3 of the story of Kassim Tajideen.