April, 19 2019 /Politics, Law & Society

Members of Abi Saab family in Lebanon should be held for war crimes

Illegal arms and weaponry business of the Abi Saabs is flourishing

The Abi Saabs are one of the most powerful and reputed families in Lebanon. They dominate in the international arms trade market and influence Lebanese politics, so when Tony Abi Saab (son of Joseph Abi Saab) was accused of bribe, fraud, and war crimes, everyone was shocked.

Joseph Abi Saab founded the company, Brescia Middle East, specialized in importing and exporting guns and weapons, in 1981. His company bloomed and flourished in juxtaposition to the conflicts in the Middle East countries. He managed to maintain a balanced and cordial relationship with both of his business clients—the rebels and the Army. After Joseph took retirement from the weapon business, he gave all the responsibilities of BME to his sons--Tony and Hady.

Tony Abi Saab was miles ahead of his father in fooling the authorities; he expanded the just-weapon business to other profit trades to dupe international funds—he began reconstruction contract companies like Sima Salazar group, Tactica Ltd, K5 Global in Afghanistan. He with the help of his shell companies managed to embezzle over $150 million dollars of the US military force.

The Sima Salazar group was not directly owned by the Abi Saabs, but most of its shares belonged to the family and mostly, to Tony. The company was operated under the sub-contract by Tony-owned companies--K5 Global and Bennet-Fouch.

Raymond Azar, the official owner of Sima Salazar group duped the US Army of multi-million dollars in reconstruction contracts. Raymond Azar is not an outsider; he is a family friend of the Abi Saabs and also a local of Lebanon. The blood sister of Joseph’s wife is a wife of Raymond.

The investigation team of FBI, CIA and the Army, together orchestrated a sting operation against Tony Abi Saab. He was caught red-handed with valuable documents and cash and was flown to the US court. But, sadly, he was freed from all the charges as he managed to drag his case to the Civil court instead of Criminal court, and pleaded human rights violation and error in collecting the evidence. He got away from the grievous charges just by paying a small sum of money as a penalty.

Chief Editor