July 21, 2011, - 5:29 pm
Hezbollah car theft rings are nothing new to me. We have them all over the Detroit area. In 2001, right after 9/11, a Shi’ite Muslim Detroit-area restaurant owner, Noureddine “Dean” Hachem, had FOX News, CNN, and everyone else gushing over him when his waiters cheered 9/11. He denied this, despite a lot of evidence indicating that it happened. He sued for defamation. But a funny thing happened during his defamation lawsuit. His indictment for running an international auto theft ring using Canada, North America, and Panama. Then U.S. Customs agents told me they knew the money was going to a bank account in Lebanon and then to Hachem’s Hezbollah buddies. He was convicted and sent to prison. And I know of a giant car theft and insurance fraud ring in the Deabornistan area, which Hezbollah uses to raise money and send cars and car parts to Lebanon using various cover. We reported it to authorities, who did nothing.
And as investigator Bill Warner has repeatedly noted over the years, most major terrorists have some link to car theft rings, including Mohammed Atta. So, it’s in this vein, that this story about an Ontario, Canada Hezbollah car theft, credit card fraud, and bank fraud ring is not news to me. But what is news is the gangster levels to which individuals involved have risen. That happens here in Detroit, too. But I’ve only heard of a few cases, in which they kidnapped people back in South Lebanon, then came to the relatives’ Detroit area homes and threatened to kill them.
Aline Ajami’s nightmare began when a stranger appeared at the Toronto apartment where she lived with her parents. He said his name was Kamal Ghandour and that he was connected to the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.
There was a problem, he said.
Ms. Ajami’s uncle owed him money. As a result, the uncle was being held hostage by Mr. Ghandour’s associates in south Lebanon. He would be killed, Mr. Ghandour warned, unless Ms. Ajami did exactly what she was told.
That encounter in February 2008 was the start of what an Ontario judge, in language more reminiscent of a book jacket than a legal ruling, would call a “strange and harrowing tale of international intrigue” involving “gangsters with known ties to terrorists.”
The remarkable case has so far gone unreported, but the National Post has pieced the story together for the first time from documents and interviews. It suggests that the Iranian-backed Hezbollah is linked to a fraud and extortion racket in Southern Ontario.
Ms. Ajami was 24 and employed by a Toronto marketing firm when Mr. Ghandour came to see her. Aside from threatening her uncle, Mr. Ghandour had also said he would kill Ms. Ajami’s sister, who lived in Lebanon.
After he left her apartment, Ms. Ajami did not tell police – not at first. Mr. Ghandour had shown her the business cards of several RCMP officers. He had friends in law enforcement, he told her. If she reported him to the authorities, he would find out.
His stated ties to Hezbollah caused Ms. Ajami to take his threats seriously. She was born in Lebanon and knew the Shia Muslim militants controlled the country’s south. They had killed the prime minister, Rafik Hariri. They could kill her uncle and sister, too.
So she did what she was told.
For the next two months, Mr. Ghandour and his son Karim appeared almost daily at the Ajamis’ apartment not far from York University.
They would take Ms. Ajami and her father Elia out to open credit and chequing accounts, she said. The Ajamis immediately handed the credit cards and cheques to the Ghandours, who maxed them out – even using one to pay for a wedding in Lebanon.
Then the Ghandours wanted luxury cars. On April 19, 2008, Ms. Ajami’s father went to the Mercedes dealership on Mavis Road in Mississauga and, using bogus credit information, left with a 2007 VS class Mercedes Benz for $93,000. Four days later, it was Ms. Ajami’s turn. Accompanied by Karim Ghandour, she bought a 2006 Lexus from the same dealership for $45,000.
When Ms. Ajami’s $5,500 deposit cheque bounced and her credit history proved fake, the dealership activated a tracking device in one of the cars. Both were found in a shipping container at the Port of Montreal, awaiting delivery to Lebanon. Ms. Ajami had been caught in a fraud, but by then she had left the country. The Ghandours had forced her to go back to Lebanon, she said.
She spent a month in Beirut before deciding to do something. She called Crime Stoppers in Ontario and reported what the Ghandours had done to her.
The police were very interested in what she had to say.
Originally from Sidon, an ancient port south of Beirut, Kamal Ghandour was a 44-year-old chef who owned the Castle Restaurant in Windsor. He was also, according to Ontario Provincial Police, known to commit serious frauds in Windsor and the Toronto area.
In 2007, the Superior Court of Justice ordered Mr. Ghandour to pay $50,000 to a Mississauga man named Ghassan El Gharib. Mr. El Gharib had helped finance Mr. Ghandour’s restaurant, L’Ostario’s, near the Toronto airport.
Read the rest of this chilling story. This is Islam. It’s Islam in North America. This guy, Ghandour owns a restaurant in Windsor, just across the border from Detroit. And don’t think the Detroit border is keeping this guy out. It isn’t. This is what Shi’ite Muslims do. It’s who they are.