WASHINGTON DC: Moh-amad Yassine and Hassan Rahman, citizens of Leb-anon, will be arraigned on Monday on money laundering charges for operating an international money laundering organization. Yass-ine and Rahman were arr-ested in September 2021 in the Republic of Georgia an-d extradited to the United States on April 30, 2022. T-he defendants are schedul-ed to be arraigned this aft-ernoon before United States Magistrate Judge Sanket J. Bulsara at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn.
Breon Peace, United Sta-tes Attorney for the Eastern District of New York and Susan A. Gibson, Special Agent-in-Charge, Drug En-forcement Administration (DEA), New Jersey Divis-ion announced the extraditions. “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.”
Peace thanked the Georgian Ministry of Justice, the Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia, the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs, the DEA’s Country Attaché Office in Georgia, and the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs for their assistance with the arrest and extradition.
“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.
The charges in the superseding indictment are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, the defendants face up to 40 years in prison.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s International Narcotics and Money Laundering Section. Assistant United States Attorneys Francisco J. Navarro, Jonathan P. Lax, Nomi D. Berenson and Tara B. McGrath are in charge of the prosecution.