Commissioner Diaz demands crackdown on Hezbollah financiers
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY – The Miami-Dade County Commission on Dec. 19 approved a resolution sponsored by Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz urging the federal government to crack down on any efforts to raise or launder money for Hezbollah and to investigate any companies operating in Miami-Dade County with possible links to financing of terrorist organizations.
Hezbollah was designated a terrorist organization in 1995 and has been linked to a number of terrorist attacks.
Commissioner Diaz’s resolution is in support of legislation sponsored by Sen. Marco Rubio and Congressman Edward Royce to impose further sanctions and penalties on Hezbollah and anyone providing financial or material support to the organization. Penalties would include blocking and forfeiture of assets and revocation of U.S. visas. Congressional action on the issue comes in the wake of the June 2017 indictment of Ali Issa Chamas, a Lebanese national with Paraguayan citizenship and reported ties to Hezbollah, who was extradited to the United States and charged in Miami for conspiracy to distribute cocaine into the United States. A month earlier, Dr. Emanuele Ottolenghi, Senior Fellow with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights, and Global Women’s Issues, that there are more than 420 companies operating in the Greater Miami metropolitan area with ties to the Argentina-Brazil-Paraguay border where Hezbollah finance operatives have been identified. The federal government is also seeking Roda Taher of Lebanon for directing a $94 million internet scheme in South Florida that he used to finance Hezbollah.
“To know that in our own community something like this is happening at this level is very disturbing, and I think it’s time we really step up in this community and say, ‘Enough is enough,’” Commissioner Diaz said.