Le gouvernement béninois a décidé d’expulser du Bénin le mercredi 18 Janvier 2012, Ellissa Group et Yamen, suspectés d’activités illicites.
Selon les investigations de la Drug enforcement administration (Dea), sous le couvert de la vente des voitures d’occasion, la société Ellissa de Ali Kharroubi, mène des activités illicites, dont le blanchiment d’argent pour financer le Hezbollah libanais, parti qui figure, aux Etats-Unis, sur la liste des groupements terroristes.
L’agence anti-drogue américaine a ciblé plusieurs autres personnes pour leur rôle dans les transferts illicites d’argent vers le Liban. Il s’agit de la Lebanese Canadian Bank, Hassan Ayash Exchange Company, Cybamar Swiss GMBH, Nomeco SARL, Marco SARL et Salhab Travel Agency.
Plainte du JUDGE HOLWELL
united States Attorney for the Southern District of New York
By: SHARON COHEN LEVIN
MICHAEL D. LOCKARD
JASON H. COWLEY
ALEXANDER J. WILSON
One St. Andrew’s Plaza
New York, New York 10007
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
– v. –
LEBANESE CANADIAN BANK SAL, ELLISSA
HOLDING COMPANY, HASSAN AYASH EXCHANGE
COMPANY, CYBAMAR SWISS GMBH, LLC, STE
In addition, Ellissa Group SA, Ellissa Holding, Ellissa Megastore, Ellissa Parc Cotonou, and Ellissa Shipping, the latter three of which are located in Benin, were designated (the Ellissa companies collectively, « Ellis sa Holding »).
c. Narcotics Trafficking in West Africa
During the last decade, drug trafficking organizations have increasingly used countries along or near the West African coast as trans-shipment hubs for importing massive quantities of narcotics, particularly cocaine from South America, to be later distributed in Europe or elsewhere within Africa.
Through a combination of privately owned aircraft and maritime vessels, these organizations, predominantly based in Venezuela and Colombia, have transported hundreds of tons of cocaine, worth billions of dollars, to West African nations such as Benin,
Sierra Leone, and Togo.
F. The Ellissa Exchange, Ellissa Shipping Company, and Ellissa Car Parc in Cotonou
50. The Ellissa Holding Company owns or controls approximately nine companies in Lebanon, Benin and the DRC, including the Ellissa Exchange, a money exchange based in
Sarafand, Lebanon; Ellissa Group SA, which owns a car park in Cotonou, Benin, for receiving and selling used cars imported to the Cotonou port; and Ellissa Shipping, which is principally engaged in shipping used cars to Benin through the Cotonou port.
The Ellissa Holding Company is principally owned and controlled by Jamal Mohamad Kharoubi and Ali Mohammed Kharroubi.
51. Wire transfers originating from the Ellissa
Exchange totaling approximately $61,747,524 were sent to United States accounts for the purpose of purchasing or shipping cars between in or about January 2007 and in or about January 2011.
G. Transfers from Ayash, Ellissa and Others to the United States to Buy and Ship Used Cars
52. Between in or about January 2007 and in or about January 2011, the Ayash Exchange and the Ellissa Exchange originated approximately $203,269,615 or more in wire transfers (the nExchange Funds ») from’accounts held at LCB, Federal Bank, BLOM, and MEAB (collectively, the nLebanese Banks ») to bank accounts in the United States for the purchase or shipping of used cars.
53. Account holders other than Hassan Ayash Exchange and Ellissa Exchange initiated wire transfers totaling at least approximately $126,281,969 (the nNon-Exchange Funds ») to bank accounts in the United States for the purchase or shipping of used cars. Some of the originators for these Non-Exchange. Funds are discussed below, see ~ 77.
55. Between 2008 and 2010, used cars valued collectively at over $1 billion were shipped from the United States to Benin, including hundreds of millions’ worth of used cars purchased with funds from the Lebanese Banks.
65. Money couriers also transport millions of dollars from Benin on commercial air flights.
Couriers travel on these flights and carry the undeclared cash with them in order to evade detection. For example, on December 9, 2010, three individuals who had traveled on a flight from Benin were arrested at Charles De Gaulle International Airport in Paris, France. The three were en route to Beirut, Lebanon. They were discovered to be carrying over $6.5 million in United States currency and €48,500. These funds were not declared. One of the individuals was carrying a business card for Ellissa Megastore, Ellissa’s car lot in
66. Cash is also commonly transported out of Benin through the airport in Accra, Ghana, approximately 210 miles from Cotonou, Benin. The route from Cotonou to Accra passes through Togo and its capital, Lome, on the Ghana border. The Ghanaian Customs, Excise, and Preventive Services recorded approximately $1.2 billion in declared United States currency imported across the Lome border crossing in 2007 and 2008. Approximately $845 million of this was declared by Lebanese nationals.
67. From Accra, the cash is often flown to Beirut.
Hizballah security facilitates the receipt of cash flown into the Beirut International Airport. For example, money couriers are sometimes instructed over the public address system to deplane first, and are escorted to private rooms in the airport where the cash would be received.
Dated: New York, New York
December 15, 2011
United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York
Michael D. Lockard
Jason H. Cowley
Alexander J. Wilson
Assistant United States Attorneys
One St. Andrew’s Plaza
New York, New York 10007