Saleh ASSI, a Libanese national who has been under embargo by the American treasury and is not allowed to exercise any commercial activities due to said sanction, has found other means to escape the surveillance and vigilance of the justice system.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) took action against Saleh ASSI a Lebanon and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)-based money launderer and his affiliated companies, including those that have generated tens of millions of dollars for Hizballah, its financiers, and their malign activities.

“These designations,” according to OFAC, “…underscore the extent to which Hizballah and its affiliates engage in illicit economic activity that prioritizes the terrorist group’s own economic interests over those of the Lebanese people. The United States supports the Lebanese people’s demand to end corruption and the terrorist financing that thrives in corrupt environments.”

“Art and luxury goods dealers should be on alert to the schemes of money launderers who hide personal funds in high-value assets in an attempt to mitigate the effects of U.S. sanctions,” said Deputy Secretary Justin G. Muzinich.

Saleh ASSI who is a recidivist has created new companies in the Congolese capital. Kinshasa One SARLU, Baraka Trading Sarlu, Super Nourriture Sarlu, Newlook Sarlu, Pain de Ville, specialized in the sale of variety of foods. His commercial activities are channeled through MIKADO, another company created in Turkey for such purpose.

Saleh ASSI is using various Congolese and Libanese names as owners of his several companies created for the purpose of serving as channels to continue his commercial activities without being noticed by the American treasury. These companies obtained their licenses through Afriland, Access Bank, United Bank of Africa and Equity Bank. Despite the fact that these banks are very aware of the sanctions on Assi, also knowing that money transferred through their various banks come from companies under the same sanction, they continue to facilitate the transactions of Saleh ASSI.

Investigations carried out by this paper revealed that J. MARR (Seadfoods) based in

London, AMEROPA based in Switzerland AG and NAMSOV Fishing Enterprise Pty Ltd based in Namibia, Tunacor Fishery Limited and Micar based in Portland are the suppliers of the various companies operated under different ownership by Saleh ASSI.

According to the OFAC, Assi has materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, Adham Tabaja, a person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended.

“In the years following his designation, Tabaja maintained close financial connections to Assi, receiving millions from accounts tied to Assi. As of 2019, Assi was one of Tabaja’s few remaining sources of financial support. Assi is also a business partner of Tabaja and conducts real estate purchases on his behalf. In turn, Tabaja has used his ties with Hizballah to solve Assi’s business and legal problems. Assi uses his companies to facilitate payments to Tabaja. Assi and his companies also engage in tax evasion and money laundering schemes in the DRC that generate illicit profits of tens of millions of dollars per year, a portion of which are transferred to Tabaja in Lebanon. Revenue generated by Assi’s schemes is delivered to Lebanon via bulk cash transfers or laundered through Nazem Ahmad’s diamond businesses. Over the past decade, Assi has used schemes like these to funnel tens of millions of dollars to Tabaja. Assi was also involved in a tax evasion scheme with several other U.S. designated Hizba

llah financiers and associates, including Tabaja, Nazem Ahmad, Mohammad Bazzi, and Kassem Tajideen.” The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) revealed.

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