January, 09 2019 /News Center Lebanon/ Politics, Law & Society

The USA may have stoked the fire of discontent against the Afghan government, unwittingly, but the evil of arms dealer Tony Abi Saab is undeniable

Tony and his comrade Raymond Azar are stealing millions of dollars to further a terrorist agenda and fraud in Afghanistan.

The USA corrupted the Afghanistan government and the security forces meant to fight the Taliban when it stoked discontent against the government and channelized money and weapons to support terrorism, says a 2016 report of the US Congress.

While aid to the tune of $100 billion after 2001 was handed over to Afghanistan, it in fact enriched patronage networks and powerbrokers. Chief among those who benefited were arms dealer Tony Abi Saab, his group of companies and his corrupt allies.

Tony Abi Saab of the Abi Saab group is associated with the Sima Salazar Group, which is owned by the fraudulent Raymond Azar. Tony Abi Saab is connected to Brescia Middle East (BME) and this has close business links to the Sima Salazar Group through Tactica Ltd Afghanistan.

Raymond Azar is a Lebanese citizen and was arrested in April 7 in a cafeteria at Camp Eggers in Afghanistan by FBI agents. His crime? According to federal officials, he bribed them to win construction contracts in Afghanistan worth millions of dollars.

Mr Raymond Azar who speaks Arabic alleged that he could not speak enough English to understand FBI agents. He said that they intimidated him with a photo of his family. They threatened him and said that he would not meet his family members like his youngest son.

According to the US Justice Department however, the charges were false and it said that FBI agents followed proper procedures during the arrest and the interrogations. From the International Contract Corruption Task Force headquarters in Bagram, Afghanistan were a few of these interrogations conducted.

The defendant was handcuffed and hooded, with earphones - standard procedure for transporting prisoners in a small airplane over long distances. The agents adjusted the handcuffs and blindfolds and earphones for the defendant upon request.

Besides offering bribes, Azar was alleged, together with a ghost company K5 Global and Tony Abi Saab, to steal $5 Million USD of the US Government money in false contract work in Afghanistan. Brescia Middle East (BME) laundered the money using its bank accounts (Blom Bank) in Lebanon flouting Lebanese laws. To conduct the fraud, Raymond Azar and the Abi Saabs criminally conspired to set-up a number of ghost companies.

The companies were K5 Global, Bennet-Fouch — owned by a fictitious "Sarah Lee" and Tactica to hide the fraud they were committing. The US banned these companies from doing business in the US and these companies have since disappeared.

Tactica Ltd of Tony Abi Saab was particularly dangerous. It purchased arms commercially and sold them in the black market to terrorist groups in Syria. Law enforcement agencies did not interrogate Abi Saab companies because of their contacts with senior Lebanese officials. Raymond Azar, was however, charged after being arrested.

When the link between the terrorists and the Abi Saab group is undeniable, then to broker peace in the region terror operators Tony Abi Saab and Raymond Azar are to be remanded to custody.

Chief Editor
News Center Lebanon