WFDB Urges Members to Avoid Trade With Those Named on Terror List

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Press Release, ANTWERP: Avi Paz, president of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB), has called upon bourse members not to trade under any circumstances with Kassim Tajideen and Abd Al Menhem Qubaysi, two Africa-based supporters of the Hezbollah terrorist organization, who have been placed on the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s terrorist list. The U.S. has announced a freeze on any assets that the two traders may have under U.S. jurisdiction, and it is prohibiting its citizens from carrying out any business with them.

Tajideen is an important financial contributor to Hezbollah who operates a network of businesses in Lebanon and Africa. He has contributed tens of millions of dollars to Hezbollah and has sent funds to the organization via his brother, a Hezbollah commander in Lebanon. He and his brothers also run cover companies for Hezbollah in Africa.

Belgium’s Economic Crimes Unit arrested Tajideen and several officials of his company Soafrimex in Antwerp in May 2003 following a four-month international investigation. The firm’s bank accounts were frozen, and several weeks later the police also arrested Huda Saad, his wife. Tajideen was then arrested on suspicion of fraud, money laundering and trade in diamonds of doubtful origin to the value of tens of millions of euros.

Abd Al Menhem Qubaysi is a Cote d’Ivoire-based supporter of Hezbollah and the personal representative of Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s secretary general. He is in regular contact with leaders of Hezbollah and has hosted senior officials of the terrorist group when they travel to Cote d’Ivoire and other parts of Africa to raise money for Hezbollah. He speaks at Hezbollah fundraising events and sponsors meetings with high-ranking members of the organization. He helped establish an official Hezbollah foundation in Cote d’Ivoire, used to recruit new members for Hezbollah’s military ranks in Lebanon.

“We will continue to take steps to protect the financial system from the threat posed by Hezbollah and those who support it,” said Stuart Levey, undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence. “Not only is Hezbollah itself a terrorist organization with global reach, it also recently acknowledged publicly that it provides support to Hamas.”

“It is quite clear that these two Lebanese traders have been involved in a range of illegal activities and that they have nothing whatsoever to do with the legitimate diamond trade,” said Paz. “WFDB members should have absolutely no contact with them since they are clearly involved in terrorism and they are using the diamond trade as a cover for their criminal activities,” he added.

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