The Tajideens have connections through companies and associates throughout northern Africa, Central and South America and the British Virgin Islands. Treasury agents also identified Congo Futur as another company owned by the Tajideen brothers, and allege that it is used as a cover company supposedly dealing in the food and diamond trades, but in fact acting on behalf of Hezbollah.
Western Intelligence believes that Hezbollah has allied itself with Iran and that nation’s intention to expand its influence throughout the Middle East. Iran already plays a significant role in South America and has for some time. Publicly, they fund mosques, cultural centers, schools and youth groups. But quietly, they aid and abet anti-U.S. regimes and groups attempting to gain power. Iranian agents also indoctrinate Muslims in radical Islamic ideologies and revolutionary Islam. The strategic alliance formed between Iran and Hezbollah gives the terror group new opportunities to work with drug cartels and corrupt political leaders to launder money and, in so doing, use earnings to fund large-scale military and terrorist efforts.
In 2015, then Commander of Southern Command General John F. Kelly stated:
“The terrorist group Lebanese Hezbollah — which has long viewed the region as a potential attack venue against Israeli or other Western targets — has supporters and sympathizers in Lebanese diaspora communities in Latin America, some of whom are involved in lucrative illicit activities like money laundering and trafficking in counterfeit goods and drugs. These clan-based criminal networks exploit corruption and lax law enforcement in places like the Tri-Border Area of
Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina and the Colón Free Trade Zone in Panama, and generate revenue, an unknown amount of which is transferred to Lebanese Hezbollah.”
The Colón Free Trade Zone is one of 16 free trade zones in Panama and is the second largest free trade zone in the world in terms of the business conducted there. In terms of geographic size, it is merely 600 acres — less than 1.5 square miles — but about 1,700 global corporations and over 120 banks from about 35 different countries are represented within the zone. The presence of so many foreign banks facilitates the ability to transfer money quickly between currencies, which is an ideal circumstance for money laundering.
The fact that money laundering and funneling of money into terrorist hands continues today throughout the international banking system continues to infuriate Stern. Speaking of his involvement in bringing to light the HSBC collusion in terror financing, he said, “This was intentional and it was illegal. And despite this criminal action on the part of HSBC employees, none were prosecuted.” Stern went on to say that some of the same people he identified as actively engaged in orchestrating the money-laundering scheme are still employed at HSBC and, according to him, the bank continues to engage in money laundering. “They make billions of dollars laundering money,” he said. “And they are happy to pay a fine every now and again in order to stay in that business.”
The reasons behind not prosecuting officials at the bank may never be fully known. According to a U.S. House of Representatives Report published in July 2016, titled “Too Big to Jail: Inside the Obama Justice Department’s Decision Not to Hold Wall Street Accountable,” then U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder overruled an internal Department of Justice (DOJ) recommendation to prosecute HSBC. Adding insult to injury, the Obama Administration then, according to the same report, allowed HSBC to ignore terms proposed by DOJ to avoid prosecution, and actively engaged in negotiations with government officials to reach a financial settlement that some believe was insignificant in comparison to the profits the bank earned and continues to earn by facilitating money transfers that benefit terror groups and corrupt foreign officials.
The consequences of reluctance by U.S. and European officials to crack down on banks laundering money used by terrorists and international crime syndicates was made all too apparent this year when in March, news broke of yet another major money-laundering scheme engaged in by HSBC as well as Barclays, Lloyd’s and the Royal Bank of Scotland. Dubbed the “Global Laundromat” by investigators, allegations are that despite sanctions, at least $20 billion was illegally moved out of Russia during a four-year period beginning in 2010. In all, 17 banks based in the U.K. or foreign banks with branches in the U.K. are alleged to have engaged in this money laundering activity.
Of note is that fact that this latest money laundering and illegal transfers of money scheme by banks and financial institutions was made public not by U.S. or U.K. officials, but by an investigation undertaken by Moldovan officials. The response to the allegations made by the Moldovan investigation is deafening in its silence. The U.K.’s National Crime Agency issued a statement that it would “consider any formal request for assistance from the Moldovan authorities in connection with their investigation.” But as for the NCA opening its own investigation against the U.K.’s own banking industry, not a sound can be heard.
Meanwhile, according to the Miami Herald, a Russian government official who earns a salary equivalent to $75,000 U.S. dollars per year has recently purchased more than $8 million in waterfront property in and around the Miami area. Igor Sorin works with former Russian intelligence officer Svyatoslav Mangushev, another Miami real-estate investor who was one of the founders of Spetsnaz, M.C., the Russian motorcycle club that is alleged to have served as cover for an advance team of Russian Special Forces in the invasion and ultimate annexation of the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine.
Funding terrorism is not at all difficult. One recent money laundering scheme identified the use of drug money obtained from sales on the streets of America to purchase upscale used and stolen vehicles that were then transported and sold in African nations. Having exchanged U.S. currency for automobiles and then converted the automobiles into denominations from various African nations, the laundering process was complete. All that was needed at this final stage was a friendly bank that would facilitate the transfer of the money from Africa to Lebanon, Iran or some other nation willing to abet the funding of death by terror groups. And when it comes to funding terror, finding such a friendly bank, is apparently the least of anyone’s problems.