Imad Abdul Reda Bakri
Imad Abdul Reda Bakri is a Hezbollah financier and Weapon smuggler. He is a major shareholder in vast number of businesses worldwide. Through some of those businesses he used to launder and transfer money to Hezbollah. Since this structure was never touched, we believe he is still doing it today. Part of the weapon shipments he used to smuggle into Africa, were delivered by Bakri to Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Bakri, who became a wealthy man during the 1990s and early 2000s, made his fortune due to massive activity on two main channels: first, Bakri was considered to be one of the major arms suppliers to UNITA (União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola), a militia fought in the Angolan civil war and later became the second largest political party in the country. Second, during this period, Bakri also made his fortune dealing in conflict diamonds.
As this report shows, to this day, Bakri has extensive “legitimate” business dealings in four continents in countries such as Lebanon, Belgium, Brazil, France, and Angola. Many of his business are in the field of food supply trading, holding groups, and he is still involved in the diamond trade business.
Bakri receives honor and recognition for his activities from Shia communities in Lebanon and Africa, as well as from the Belgian Royalty and government.
Imad Abdul Reda Bakri, a businessman, that holds a dual Lebanese and Congolese citizenships, belongs to a family that is known for its support of Hezbollah. He made his fortune since the mid-1990s and soon became a key figure in Hezbollah’s financial apparatus.
During the 1990s and early 2000s, Bakri made his fortune from trafficking illegal diamonds (Blood Diamonds) from Angola, during the height of its civil war. Bakri trafficked the diamonds from Angola to Congo DRC (formerly known as Zaire), and from there to Belgium. Some of the profits from this trade, estimated in millions of dollars, he used to transfer large sums of money to Hezbollah. Bakri’s main business partner in his diamond smuggling enterprise in Angola, was UNITA – the notorious militia that controlled the area where the diamonds were found. UNITA’s forces used to force the local villagers to mine the diamonds which they sold in exchange for millions of dollars used to arm the militia and pay the salaries of its members. In fact, this is where the definition of blood diamonds (aka conflict diamonds) was born.
Bakri’s cooperation with UNITA was not limited to diamond trade, he took advantage of the civil war and began trade in arms (until the organization renounced its violent ways, became a political party, and turned in its weapons in 2002). During the 1990s and early 2000s, Bakri was UNITA’s main weapons and military equipment supplier. He smuggled the weapons mostly from Congo DRC, where he had extensive connections with the country’s former President, Mobuto, as well as other senior army generals. Large amounts of weapons found their way to Kinshasa via a Romanian company Romagro Cereal SRL which was controlled by Bakri. Furthermore, Bakri also served as the middleman in arm trafficking deals between the notorious Russian smuggler, Victor Bout, and UNITA. More importantly, some of these weapons found their way into Lebanon to the hands of Hezbollah.
Despite his involvement in trafficking blood diamonds in Angola, he is still involved in this trade. He owns a diamond trading company located in Antwerp, Belgium, called RIM DIAMONDS BVBA. We assume that the company is named after his son Rim (AKA Reem). Given his business contacts in Angola and his familiarity with the local market, we assume that Bakri continues to trade in diamonds from Angola as well. Thus, strangely enough, despite having his name linked to conflict diamonds trafficking and to financing terror organization, Imad Bakri still owns and manages a diamond company and trades in them.
It also didn’t harm is other business ventures. Bakri’s business dealings span several countries including Lebanon, Belgium, France, Romania, Brazil, and Algeria. His most prominent field of business is in the food industries.
Bakri’s businesses in Angola are concentrated mainly in supplying flour, he also owns several bakeries in the country. Until 2019, Bakri was a major shareholder in a French mill, Grands Moulins de Strasburg (GMS). This mill exports flour to many countries around the world, but Angola is one of its main destinations.
Bakri had the monopoly of managing GMS’ deals in Angola and Lebanon, including collect the money, and after taking his share to transfer the major part to GMS. Apparently, he did not transfer the money, that accumulate to amount of 58 million Euros. In 2013, GMS sent Bakri a letter informs that he is not part of the company anymore and they demand him to return the money. Both sides went to trial, it is unclear what is the court ruling but the French law is compromising with Bakri because of the way he was expelled from GMS. It is unclear if he gave any money back at all.
Although this saga, Bakri is still a shareholder in other company in France, SMD Participations, that deals with fund management. SMD’s accountancy is done by Grant Thornton. LES MOULINS ADVENS purchased GMS and it is also the president of SMD Participations.
One of Bakri’s main holdings is the BGH Holding Group (BGH – Bakri Group Holding) of companies with several branches based in Lebanon and Brazil (see Annex). The group deals in real estate, import – export, trading, franchising, licensing, and food supply. The holding group’s attorney is Ali Hussein Al Achi, an attorney that manages many of Hezbollah’s financial assets (see report Lebanon’s Consiglieres Achi Law Firm).
Through BGH holding and other companies, Bakri also provided Hezbollah with money laundering services. One such company is METRO TRADING COMPANY SA, located in Belgium. The company deals in food products and supplies (such as flour, meat, and fish) and exports to other countries such as Angola, Romania, France, and Algeria. Between the years 2006-2007, METRO TRADING COMPANY SA laundered 15 million USD from its LCB bank (Lebanese Canadian Bank) account on behalf of Hezbollah. Bakri himself laundered some 3 million USD from his personal account at LCB. Metro Trading owns two subsidiaries in Lebanon – METRO TRADING SARL and METRO TRADING COMPANY OFFSHORE SAL. METRO TRADING COMPANY OFFSHORE SAL had a bank account in SGBL bank (Société générale de banque au Liban) and BLF bank (BANQUE LIBANO-FRANÇAISE) in Lebanon through which it laundered large amounts of money for Hezbollah as well. We believe that Bakri continues to finance Hezbollah through his companies.
Surprisingly enough, despite Bakri’s and Al-Achi’s extensive dealings with Hezbollah, until this day BGH Group received accounting services from Grant Thornton’s Lebanese branch.
His involvement in arms trafficking, blood diamonds and the services he provides to Hezbollah, have all allowed Imad Bakri to, not only become a wealthy man, but also to gain vast influence in the Shi’ite community especially in Belgium, Lebanon and Western Africa. Due to his status, Bakri was invited in 2015 to the house of the Belgian Ambassador in Babdaa, Lebanon to receive the honorary title of officer of the Crown. That honor was given to him for the role he played in promoting good relations between the two countries.
While there is little information regarding Bakri’s activity in the past decade, it seems that his connection to Hezbollah is still viable. This is evident from an assassination that took place in Luanda, Angola in 2017. While the victim was a local businessmen called Amine Bakri, who according to some news agencies was a relative of Imad, many news outlets in Lebanon and in Angola claimed that this was a case of mistaken identity and the true target was Imad Bakri, citing his connection to Hezbollah as one of the main motives.
Despite all the information that’s written above, although he was involved in major international criminal activity and aids a terrorist organization, Bakri was never charged with any crime.
This begs the question, how can Imad Bakri that is known for his connections to Hezbollah, for being an arms smuggler and for dealing in blood diamonds, is allowed to continue his activity in the prestigious diamond trade industry via his company RIM DIAMONDS? The questions need to be directed to Kimberly Process Committee and Belgian authorities.
If anything, the fact that he received the title of officer of the crown from the Belgian government shows that the Belgian authorities choose to turn a blind eye to Bakri’s illicit activity.
Bakri’s businesses span four continents, this also provides him with a vast business network that allows him to continue to finance Hezbollah. Moreover, this business network and his status in various Shiite communities, particularly in Angola, may also facilitate Hezbollah’s efforts to establish terrorist cells in Western Africa.
In many of Bakri’s businesses there appears a shareholder that goes by the name of Patricia Doreen. She holds a Belgian citizenship and we believe that she is Imad Bakri’s sister. Her name also appears in one of the companies in Lebanon as Patricia Doreen Bakri.
– METRO TRADING COMPANY SA
– METRO IMMO SA – Real Estate.
– RIM DIAMONDS BVBA.
– Grands Moulins de Strasburg
– SMD Participations –
– ABP FRANQUEADORA LTDA – controls by B.G.H. FOR FRANCHISING AND LICENSING HOLDING S.A.L. – BGH Holding Group.
– BINV EMPREENDIMENTOS IMOBILIARIOS LTDA – B.G.H FOR REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT HOLDING S.A.L.
– BONHEUR DE PAINS PRODUCTOS ALIMENTIEOS E IMPORTACAO LTDA – controls by ABP Holding Brazil.
– SUL TRADING COMPANY COMERCIAL EXPORTADORA LTDA – controls by BGH for Trading Brazil .
-ROMAGRO CEREAL SRL.
EURL SABI ALGERIE
Companies that are part of the BGH Holding Group:
– BGH HOLDING SAL – Accountancy is done by Grant Thornton.
– BGH FOR REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT HOLDING SAL – BGH Holding SAL is a major shareholder in the company. Accountancy is done by Grant Thornton.
– BGH FOR TRADING HOLDING SAL – BGH Holding SAL is a major shareholder in the company. Accountancy is done by Grant Thornton.
– BGH FOR FRANCHISING AND LICENCING HOLDING SAL – BGH Holding SAL is a major shareholder in the company. Accountancy is done by Grant Thornton.
– ABP HOLDING SAL – BGH for Franchising and Licensing Holding SAL is a major shareholder in the company. Accountancy is done by Grant Thornton.
– METRO TRADING COMPANY SAL OFFSHORE – Accountancy is done by Grant Thornton .
– METRO TRADING SARL
– NASCOM SAL – BGH Holding SAL is a shareholder. Accountancy is done by Grant Thornton.
PIRZ INTERANATIONAL SAL HOLDING
BF HOLDING SAL – Accountancy is done by Grant Thornton.
SILENCIO HOLDING SAL
AL SUKUN REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT SAL
GOLDEN EYE TRADING COMPANY SAL HOLDING
OVERSEAS UNLIMITED INVETMENT SAL OFFSHORE OUI
AU BON’HEUR DE PAINS LIBAN SAL ABP LIBAN