Florida Man Charged with Exporting PS2s to Fund Hezbollah

A Florida man is free on bail following charges that he funded terrorism by shipping Sony PlayStation 2 consoles to Paraguay.

Khaled Safadi of Doral, a suburb of Miami, was the recipient of an eleven-charge indictment from federal authorities for shipping the game consoles and digital cameras to the Galeria Page Mall, located in Ciudad del Este, between 2007 and 2008. The Miami Herald reports that Treasury Department officials believe that the shopping mall is a front used to fund the activities of Lebanese-based Hezbollah.

Safadi reportedly sold $720,000 worth of PS2s and cameras to the mall. Authorities said that he provided false addresses on invoices in an attempt to hide the shipments. Safadi was granted release on a bail of $1.55 million, but will be confined to his home.

Speaking to a judge, Safadi’s lawyer stated, “He is being accused of shipping a children’s toy to Paraguay. It’s a shame that the government has pumped this thing up as a terrorism case.”

Ulises Talavera and Emilio Gonzalez-Neira were also arrested for their part in forwarding the freight to the South American country. The operator of the Paraguayan mall store in question was not charged.

The arrests, on February 18th of this year, were a result of an investigation by Custom and Immigration officials in conjunction with the Joint Terrorism Task Force of the FBI.

Safadi is a Paraguayan citizen with U.S. residency.

|Image from the New York Times|

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  1. sharpshooterbabe says:

    Speaking to a judge, Safadi’s lawyer stated, “He is being accused of shipping a children’s toy to Paraguay. It’s a shame that the government has pumped this thing up as a terrorism case.”

    Yeah ok…….that’s like saying that the September 11th attacks didn’t happen & that’s also like saying that Saddam Hussein (at the time) was a nice, caring, loving man to his people & not hiding anything from them. Pleeeeeaaassseee…….


    "It’s better to be hated for who you are, then be loved for who you are not." – Montgomery Gentry

  2. Aurontsubaki says:

    Second time I heard a playstation being used for terrorism. Last time was when I heard that the late Saddam Hussein was using the microchips in them for his Weapons of Mass Destruction.

    What we got here is failure to communicate!

  3. Rodrigo Ybáñez García says:

    Well, I think if he really was funding terrorists, then they wouldn´t let him go on bail It looks like they just decided it because his name, and… wait, Miami you said?

    Detective: Looks like terrorists are using videogames to get funds.

    Horatio: It looks like… *sunglasses* we just reached the next level.


    ———————————————————— My DeviantArt Page (aka DeviantCensorship): http://www.darkknightstrikes.deviantart.com

  4. Speeder says:

    Damn you US government! You are cutting off our videogame supply line claiming that it is terrorism?


    Seriously, this looks more the US pissed off at trade embargo not working.

    I am from Brazil, a console, or console game, pay up to 273% of importation tax (this mean that a PS2 here bought legally is 400 USD). Paraguay is near, and that mall (and several others) can be accessed just crossing a bridge (the bridge is named Friendship Bridge btw…). We cross the bridge, visit the mall on the other side, buy our PS2, and smuggle it back (ie: hide somewhere while crossing back, hoping that cops will not get you). This is the only way to pay anything less than 200 USD on a PS2.

    US cutting that will not decrease terrorism, will only decrease VG use on South America.



  5. Cerabret100 says:

    A LOT of organizations, both good and bad, have used their ability to provide social services as a way of either gaining the trust of the local people, or in cases of school, molding the future generations to their way of thinking, brainwashing seems a crude term, but it’s a relatively good descriptor.


  6. Neeneko says:

    The same can actually be said for the Taliban & Al-Qaeda.  One of the reasons they still have such a hold on Afganistan is they provide social and economic services to the local population to degrees the ‘government’ does not.

    It is a pretty time honored for organizations to work.  Look at the Catholic Church,.. one of the pilliars of thier power  is the social services they provide.  (depending on one’s views, this is actually one of the arguments in favor of government run charity programs… when you leave holes in the social services, quasi-government and stateless entities can move in and use them as a vector to increase thier influence).

    I guess what I am trying to get at,  the fact that they provide social services is actually one of the main reasons to cut off thier supply of funding if you want to weaken them.  I say ‘if’ because I am talking about ‘In order to get outcome X, this is how effect A ties in’, not argueing for or against Hezbollah in specific or this guy’s connections to a company that supports them.

    Heh.  Though one thing I like about GP… while there are few comments here, compare this thread to, ones other sites and we appear outright adult….

  7. chadachada321 says:

    Second sentence on Wikipedia’s page on Hezbollah: "Hezbollah is now also a major provider of social services, which operate schools, hospitals, and agricultural services for thousands of Lebanese Shiites."

    I support the guy. I don’t believe that he should be punished for selling games to a mall that also happened to support a "disagreeable" organization.

    -Optimum est pati quod emendare non possis-It is best to endure what you cannot change-

  8. Neeneko says:

    So.. basically he was involved in legitimate business selling retail goods to a mall in another country that happens funnels part of its profits into the ‘wrong’ side of a civil war?

    In other words, he broke a fine grained trade embargo. Meh. Sounds like capitalism rather then terrorism…. and it is nothing that richer US companies have been doing for decades via proxies and shells. Yet again,… laws are for the ‘poor’ (poor being relative here)

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