Kassim Tajideen is the alleged Hezbollah financier and OFAC-listed Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT), charged, in US District Court in DC, in an 11-count indictment, with evading IEEPA sanctions, but the real interesting part of his case has to do with his attorneys. It should serve as a textbook example of what not to do, when your client is charged with a Federal crime.
During the years prior to Tajideen's indictment and arrest, attorneys filed a number of petitions with OFAC, seeking to have his 2009 SDGT designation removed. Some of these lawyers are now on the defense team in his criminal case, and the Government has filed a notice, regarding a potential conflict of interest of these attorneys, as they may be called as witnesses, regarding those filings, which are now alleged to have contained fabricated, misleading, and inaccurate information. No ruling has been handed down on this issue yet by the Court; the Government's Notice was filed July 18. 2017.
As a takeway, Perhaps these guidelines might assist lawyers who file petitions for client, with the Office of Foreign Assets Control:
(1) If you are a criminal defense attorney do NOT file any petitions for clients, with OFAC, as you may later be called upon to defendant that client, and your OFAC filings expose you are a possible witnesses. Criminal lawyers should not be performing any civil work for clients who they may possibly represent, in a subsequent civil case; This is not rocket science.; far too many criminal defense attorneys have fallen, because they performed some routine civil work for a client. Remember what your client does for a living, remember, and remember well, the Crime or Fraud Exception to the Attorney-Client Privilege.
(2) if you are a civil attorney, and you did file petitions with OFAC, on behalf of clients, do NOT sign on, as additional counsel of record, in those clients' criminal cases, just because the client, or defense attorney, ask you to. The same conflict of interest issues may rear their ugly head.
When the Court reaches a decision in this case, we shall follow up on this story. for readers who are particularly interested in Hezbollah financing case, the style is: United States of America vs Kassim Tajideen, et al [he has several aliases], Case No.: 17-cr-00046 (RBW) (D.D.C.)
Chronicles of Monte Friesner - Financial Crime Analyst
Contributed by Kenneth Rijock - Financial Crime Analyst