Two Lebanese Citizens Extradited from Republic of Georgia to Face International Money Laundering Charges
Mohamad Yassine and Hassan Rahman Sought to Launder Tens of Millions of Dollars for Criminals Worldwide
Brooklyn, N.Y. – Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Jersey Division Susan A. Gibson and U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Breon Peace announced two citizens of Lebanon, Mohamad Yassine and Hassan Rahman, will be arraigned today on money laundering charges for operating an international money laundering organization.
Yassine and Rahman were arrested in September 2021 in the Republic of Georgia and extradited to the United States on April 30, 2022. The defendants are scheduled to be arraigned before United States Magistrate Judge Sanket J. Bulsara at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn.
“The defendants operated a sophisticated money laundering conspiracy that used the international banking system to move bulk cash by sending wire transfers for criminals throughout the world,” stated United States Attorney Peace. “This Office is committed to working with our international partners to dismantle the money laundering networks upon which drug traffickers and other criminals rely.”
“Drug traffickers rely on international money laundering organizations in order to further their criminal operations,” stated Special Agent in Charge Gibson. “The defendants in this investigation have helped to fuel the misery felt by so many affected by illegal drug use. The men and women of DEA will continue to work with our international partners to ensure these criminals are brought to justice.”
According to court filings, between approximately June 2017 and March 2018, Yassine and Rahman participated in a sophisticated Lebanon-based money laundering organization. Yassine led the organization, and Rahman was a member who reported directly to Yassine. The organization collected, laundered, and repatriated illicit funds, including drug proceeds, throughout Europe, the Middle East, South America, Australia, and the United States, in exchange for a percentage-based commission of the amount laundered. The organization typically charged a double-digit commission, as high as 17%. The organization used a network of workers to pick up and deliver bundles of cash, and it used the banking system to launder money through wire transfers. Some of the funds the defendants laundered originated in Australia, were sent to Turkey, and ultimately transferred into a bank account in Brooklyn.
If convicted, the defendants face up to 40 years in prison.
Mr. Peace thanked special agents and task force officers of the DEA’s New Jersey Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Susan A. Gibson, the Internal Revenue Service Newark Field Office, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Tammy Tomlins, the Georgian Ministry of Justice, the Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia, the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs, the DEA’s Country Attaché Office in Tbilisi, Georgia, and the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs for their assistance with the arrest and extradition.