By Mark Ellis
The largest producer of Butterball turkeys in the US is being investigated by the Justice Department over ties to individuals blacklisted for financing the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah.
The producer of the brand prized at many Thanksgiving tables, the international company Seaboard, allegedly worked with a businessman named Kassim Tajideen who was blacklisted by the U.S. State Department in 2009 and 2010 for channeling tens of millions of dollars to Hezbollah, according to a report by The Clarion Project.
A meeting allegedly took place in 2012 between a Hezbollah financier and Seaboard in which the two parties discussed how to use middlemen to conceal Seaboard’s ties to Tajideen. Federal investigators are trying to determine whether that meeting took place and what occurred there.
The meeting was apparently set up through Seaboard’s subsidiary in Africa.
Tajideen claims he has no knowledge of Seaboard or ties to Hezbollah and accused the Justice Department of confusing him with his brothers Ali and Husayn. Ali also denied knowledge of Seaboard while Husayn claimed to have had no dealings with the company recently, according to The Clarion Project.
Seaboard issued an order barring any company officials from dealing with the Tajideen brothers in 2010. If the Justice Department finds there were improper contacts, the company will face civil penalties.
Hezbollah is a Shiite terrorist organization based in southern Lebanon. Originally established to fight against Israel, it is currently enmeshed in the Syrian civil war, where it is fighting on the side of President Assad. Hezbollah and Assad are both supported by Iran.
“Hezbollah gets its money and arms from Iran, as long as Iran has money, so does Hezbollah,” Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah stated this year.
Hezbollah has been designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the US and the Arab League.
Although most of its funding is derived from Iran, Hezbollah also has other revenue sources and takes donations from private citizens.