The shell companies are those companies which are perfectly legal and often have no real operations. The objective of shell companies is able to hide and can also be a perfect tool for criminals trying to remain in the shadows. Shell companies can also be used to launder money and facilitate the illegal activities of notorious arms dealer charged with selling weapons to terrorists.
Tony Abi Saab is one such Lebanon based international arms dealer who runs his illicit business through his front company Brescia Middle East (BME) and other shell companies. Tony undertook a contract from the US Army but never had the intention to deliver the project and defrauded the US Army for 5 million USD.
The US Army doubted the huge bank transactions done between BME and shell companies of Tony and immediately began its investigation. The CIA, FBI, and the US Army operated a sting operation and in 2011 caught Tony in Afghanistan. He was sent to the US to stand a trial. Tony also used to launder money in his bank accounts of shell companies with the help of his banker friend.
Tony was well aware of the loopholes in the US judicial and moved his case from the US military court to the civil court. He also walked away from the jail term due to a technicality in the circuit court and by paying a small amount of penalty.
Despite of such severe accusations he is still running his business through a number of shell companies spread in Italy: ARMERIA AMELIO GAMBA Srl, INTESA SANPAOLO S.P.A., Benelli Armi, franchi division, Fiocchi munizione, Armeria brignoli silvio & c snc , BLS — Germany: Umarex gmbh & co KG — France: Noble france sa — Turkey: Osmanli Arms, ISTANBUL and KONYA, KOMANDO AV SAN TIC LTD, ATA Av tufekleri — Bangladesh: Emran arms, — East Europe and Russia: Kula Ltd., Tiblisi - Georgia, LOBASTOV IVAN, Baikal Ltd, Izhevsk city, Russia, Arsenal, Bulgaria, MSN and CSG Group, Czech Republic, Berkut Ltd, Ukraine — Brasil: Condor.
The law enforcement agencies are desperately trying to track down Tony Abi Saab’s illicit activities to prevent future terrorist attacks in Europe and the Middle East. The shell companies pose a threat to national security and make it nearly impossible to find the people who are actually financing terrorism through these ghost companies. Therefore it is essential that people like Tony Abi Saab should be restricted to set up any shell companies worldwide.