November 08, 2018

Hizballah Facilitator’s Holdings Include Lebanese Sports Team

On October 4, 2018, the US Department of the Treasury sanctioned Muhammad ‘Abdallah al-Amin for “providing material support to Hizballah insider and financier Adham Husayn Tabaja.” The designation marked the highest number of Hizballah-related designations by the US government in a single year.

According to the designation statement, al-Amin “conceals funds for Tabaja, and Tabaja has held a significant amount of funds in al-Amin’s name at a Lebanese bank.” 

Al-Amin has also served as a liaison between Tabaja and banking officials and has assisted Tabaja in circumventing the impact of sanctions,” the US Treasury added. 

The US also sanctioned Lebanon-based Sierra Gas S.A.L. OffshoreLama Foods S.A.R.L.Lama Foods International Offshore S.A.L.Impulse S.A.R.L.Impulse International S.A.L. OffshoreM. Marine S.A.L. Offshore, and Thaingui S.A.L. Offshore for being majority owned by al-Amin

The designation statement noted that “these companies should not be viewed as an exhaustive list of companies owned or controlled by al-Amin.” Lebanese corporate records show that al-Amin’s other corporate holdings include AM Group S.A.R.L, Aya SAL Off Shore, M A M SAL Off Shore, Hoops, M M M S.A.R.L., and Maya Alamin the Difference is in the Details S.A.R.L. 

Two of these companies, Aya SAL Off Shore and M A M SAL Off Shore, are majority owned by al-Amin.

Al-Amin co-founded and owns 24 percent of the Hoops sports club that operates a men’s basketball team competing in the Alfa Lebanese Basketball Championship. 

Hoops co-founder, majority owner, and president Jassem Assim Qansu also founded M M M S.A.R.L., a Beirut-based company owned by al-Amin. Qansu is the son of a former Lebanese Ba’th Party official, while al-Amin’s father is a former Ba’th Party minister in Lebanon’s cabinet.

Hoops assistant manager Dani Osman served as a sales manager at al-Amin’s Lama Foods International Offshore S.A.L. from 2009 to 2012. Before then, he was a salesman at Impulse S.A.R.L., a general merchandise distributor owned by al-Amin.

On its website, Hoops praises its “dedicated esteemed sponsors” for making possible the success of its basketball team. The website lists the logos of several Lebanese and foreign companies, such as Suzuki. In a 2013 press release, Hoops expressed gratitude to the general manager of Suzuki’s Lebanon dealership for his sponsorship.

Al-Amin owns 10 percent of Maya Alamin the Difference is in the Details S.A.R.L., which is the architectural and interior design division of Review S.A.R.L, a real estate company in Lebanon. Review S.A.R.L. advertises its portfolio of “over 11,000 listed properties” in Beirut. Maya Assam Abdallah is a founder and owner of Maya Alamin the Difference is in the Details S.A.R.L. and Review S.A.R.L.

Al-Amin co-owns Beirut-based AM Group S.A.R.L with Lebanese nationals Muhammad Said Mirza and Abdallah Ghassan Matraji, an honorary consul of the Consulate of Eritrea in Lebanon.

Matraji and Al-Baraka Bank Lebanon S.A.L. own Matragi International Group Co, a telecommunications company located on the 7th floor of Beirut’s UNESCO Center along with AM Group S.A.R.L, Eritrea’s Consulate, and Impulse S.A.R.L. 

Lebanese-national Khalil Hassan Faqih is a co-founder and minority owner of six of al-Amin’s companies, including Impulse International S.A.L. OffshoreSierra Gas S.A.L. Offshore, and Lama Foods International Offshore S.A.L. He is also a shareholder of M M M S.A.R.L.

Other shareholders in al-Amin’s network of companies include Nibal Muhammad Awadah, Samir Walid Saleh, Diyala Ikram Marai, and Muhammad Hussein Dikrub, who is also the registered attorney for seven of al-Amin’s companies.