Undeported: Gambian President Reverses Decision On Lebanese Businessman On U.S. Anti-Terror List

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Written by Dana Sanchez

Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh has reversed a decision to deport a Lebanese businessman listed on a U.S. anti-terror list for financing Hezbollah, Reuters reports.

This isn’t the first time Husayn Tajideen, owner of the largest shopping center in the small West African country, has been deported from The Gambia.

In late May, Tajideen was deported to Lebanon and his businesses ordered closed for “unacceptable business practices detrimental to the Gambian economy,” according to an earlier Reuters report in News24. That order has been reversed.

Gambia ordered Tajideen’s expulsion once before in 2013 on grounds of profiteering. He later received a presidential pardon “for unclear reasons,” according to Reuters.

Tajideen and two brothers run an African business network in The Gambia that reaches into Angola and DRC and helps finance the Iran-backed Shi’ite Muslim group Hezbollah, according to the U.S., Reuters reports.

On Monday, Trust Bank Gambia Ltd said that money transfer firm Western Union had terminated its contract with the bank citing links to someone on a U.S. anti-terrorism list, later identified by a government source as Tajideen, News24 reported.

The U.S. has targeted a network of businesses owned and controlled by the three brothers in four African countries including Sierra Leone, British Virgin Islands and Lebanon, according to a 2012 report in AfricaReview.

“Ali and Husayn Tajideen’s multinational network generates millions of dollars in funding and secures strategic geographical strongholds for Hezbollah,” the U.S. Treasury Department said in a statement, according to the 2012 report.

Tajco (short for Tajideen Company) is a multipurpose, multinational entity that deals in real estate, general merchandise including rice and flour, and international business, according to TheAfricaReview.

In Gambia, Tajco’s name is synonymous with its largest investment and the largest shopping complex in the country — Kairaba Supermarket.

In DRC, the Tajideens do business as Congo Future, dealing in food, diamonds, and a host of other businesses.

In Angola, authorities forced the Tajideen brothers to sell their local company.

In Sierra Leone, Tajco is best known as a string of shops dealing in food and basic household items.

A statement issued by the president’s office Friday said that the expulsion order had been rescinded and Tajideen had promised to adhere to standard business practices, according to a report in WorldBulletin.