US charges Lebanese businessman with sanctions

(AhlulBayt News Agency) - U.S. authorities charged a Lebanese businessman with evading sanctions placed against him because of his alleged support for the Hezbollah resistance movement.

Kassim Tajideen, 62, pleaded not guilty in federal court in Washington, D.C., on Friday, and will be held in jail until a detention hearing next week, the Justice Department said in a statement.

Reuters reported on Tuesday that Tajideen had been arrested on March 12 in Morocco on an international warrant issued by Interpol's Washington office.

U.S. authorities say Tajideen ran a multi-billion-dollar "global business empire" that traded in commodities across the Middle East and Africa. In 2009, U.S. authorities placed Tajideen on a sanction blacklist because of his alleged support for the Lebanese resistance group Hezbollah.

By restructuring the company and using a complex web of trade names, U.S. authorities say Tajideen was able to hide his involvement and continue doing business with U.S. companies.

Tajideen had rejected the accusation and said the news of sanctions in 2009 was a shock.

“I was surprised, as I’d thought America was democratic,” Tajideen said. “A friend called me at midnight to tell me, and woke me up. The next day I saw my lawyer [in Belgium], although he didn’t know exactly what it would mean.”


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