U.S. sanctions Bazzi for financing terrorists

Friday, May 18, 2018

Lebanese business tycoon Muhammed Ibrahim Bazzi’s accounts in the United States have been frozen by the United States’ government yesterday May 17, 2018, U.S. Embassy in Banjul told The Point.

He is highly believed to be involved in money laundering and sales of weapons to terrorist group Hezbollah in Lebanon, according to Marshall Billingslea, the assistant secretary, Department of Treasury.

The business tycoon who has both Gambian and Belgian passports also has a company in Belgium which according to Mr. Billingslea is under investigation.

“The U.S. government is working closely with its Belgian counterparts to put an immediate stop to Bazzi’s illicit business transactions.”

This new development may give weight to the Janneh Commission on the Lebanese’s financial dealings with the former regime, as the commission continues to probe the financial activities of former President Jammeh and his close associates.

The sanctions according to Mr. Billingslea, hits Mr. Bazzi’s entire network which funds millions of U.S. Dollars to Hezbollah taking down by the U.S. government.

Also part of the sanctions, American persons and entities are prohibited from any financial dealings and transactions with Mr. Bazzi and his associates.

The Janneh Commission has also frozen the accounts of Mr. Bazzi in The Gambia as it looks into his business transactions in the country during the former regime.

Mr. Bazzi is mainly involved in oil business, however, reports have emerged that he is into numerous clandestine businesses which involves selling of weapons and illicit drugs.

The U.S. government will take action and impose sanctions against Hezbollah affiliate in The Gambia (Bazzi), and to stop Iran from providing terrorism through banks, cellphone companies and illicit drug networks around the world.

The U.S. government believes Bazzi and Hezbollah have to be held accountable and that they are “watching closely.”

Bazzi through top Iranian banks which operate all over the world including The Gambia, pumps millions of U.S. Dollars to the terrorist group for over a decade. His close aide who assists him in his money laundering business is Abdallah Sasi-Al-Din a “go-between” the terror group.

The Lebanese businessman was a close associate of the former President Yaya Jammeh who favoured and awarded his numerous companies namely; the Global Trading, Euro Africa Group, GAMICO, Gam Petroleum, Gambia Electrical Group contracts without any fair or transparent bids.

Jammeh, while exploiting the people and the country’s meager resources, cut deals and was involved in numerous illegal activities with Bazzi.

A source has also revealed that  Mr. Bazzi was exploiting people in the Sub-region in the name of business which he has all over West Africa and Middle East. He is making millions that goes into the accounts of the terrorists who continue to cause atrocities in Lebanon and in the region.

 

Author: Sankulleh Gibril Janko