Secret deal between Tehran, Washington, resulted in releasing man belongs to Hezbollah

Three senior officials in the Middle East said that a Lebanese accused of financing Hezbollah was released from prison in the United States last month, as a result of indirect contacts between Tehran and Washington, and is expected to result in more releases.

Qassim Taj al-Din was released on June 11, according to the US Federal Prison Office, and arrived in Lebanon last week.

Two of the sources told Reuters that his release was part of the same path that, last year, resulted in the release of Nizar Zakka, a Lebanese businessman residing permanently in the United States from Iran, and Wissam Godwin, an American citizen, from Syria.

A US State Department spokesman said Taj al-Din was released because of health concerns, and that reports that the release was part of a behind-the-scenes deal were incorrect.

Shibley Mallat, Taj al-Din's lawyer, denied that the release had anything to do with the release of other prisoners, and said, “It was a purely judicial process.”

Taj al-Din (65 years old) pleaded guilty in 2018 to charges related to the violation of US sanctions imposed on him, was sentenced to five years in prison and a fine of $ 50 million.

In 2009, the United States designated Taj al-Din as an important financial supporter for Iran-backed Hezbollah, and he was extradited to the United States after his arrest in Morocco in 2017.

Mallat said that Taj al-Din had always denied supporting Hezbollah and refuting it as a terrorist financier.

He added that a judge had ordered the release of Taj al-Din on May 27, awaiting 14 days of quarantine on the proposal of his lawyers and argued that he should be released due to the risk of Covid-19 in prison, and that Taj al-Din was being held in Maryland.

The reasons for his release are classified under the United States.



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