Businessman Affiliated to the Hezbollah in Negotiations with Hotel Owned by the LIA in Burkina Faso – Al Marsad

A Lebanese businessman with close links to the Hezbollah is negotiating with Libyan investment authorities affiliated with the Government of National Accord (GNA) for a Libyan-owned hotel in Burkina Faso

[Libya, 25 July 2019] – Al Marsad newspaper obtained a copy of a contract offer submitted by the Lebanese businessman Sami Ashour, who is associated with the Hezbollah, to the Libyan African Investment Company, for the Laico Hotel in the city of Ouagadougou in the Republic of Burkina Faso.

 

 

Ibrahim El-Danfour is head of management of Laico Company. The Lebanese businessman owns a company named Ashour Holding. He says in his presentation that it runs five international hotels with four and five stars. Ashour himself is also a former son-in-law of the Lebanese Parliament Speaker, the head of the Shi’ite Amal Movement, Nabih Berri, who has been extremely hostile to Libya for decades since the disappearance of the Lebanese cleric Musa al-Sadr.

Ibrahim El-Danfour

Ashour has been negotiating with El-Dandour for a 10-year lease of the Laico Hotel in Burkina Faso, but a source close to his company said the company would not mind entering into a buy-in if the Libyan side approved and willing to sell.

 

Senior management at the Libyan Investment Authority and at Laico are negotiating the deal with the Lebanese businessman Sami Ashour, yet the responsibility for the deal lies with Ali Mahmoud, the president of the Libyan Investment Corporation, who was arrested in Tripoli on 6 February and was released on 14 April on allegations of committing financial abuses.

Ali Mahmoud and El-Danfour with Fayez Al-Sarraj

After Mahmoud’s arrest, the head of the Presidential Council, Fayez al-Sarraj, in his disputed capacity as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Libyan Investment Corporation, issued an appointment letter on 23 February appointing his office manager Yousuf Al-Mabrouk as Deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Corporation. He served as acting President during Mahmud’s detention.

The LIA decree letter dated 23 February appointing Yousuf Al-Mabrouk as Deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Libyan Investment Corporation

Al Marsad contacted Laico Company to get a comment, but the company refused to respond and one of its officials avoided answering by saying that they would not deal with any media that supported what he called the “aggression on Tripoli,” as he claimed.

El-Danfour (on the left) with Fayez Al-Sarraj at the opening of Eco Tunisia

With regards to the negotiations, the Lebanese “Al-Shaffaf”  website” confirmed that the Hezbollah uses a number of Shia businessmen to run cash surpluses that were available from unknown money laundering operations to buy investments in different Lebanese commercial and production sectors.

The website added that Shia mullahs, led by the young businessman Wissam Ashour, bought the Mövenpick hotel in Beirut after its owners offered to sell for $126m, the same Ashour, who is currently negotiating the Libyan investment company about its hotel in Ouagadougou.

The Lebanese businessman Sami Ashour

The“Al-Shaffaf” website added that Shia financiers, led by the young businessman Ashour, bought the Movenpick Hotel in Beirut after it was offered for sale for US$126 million—the same Ashour who is currently negotiating with the Libyan Investment Company for the Laico Hotel in Ouagadougou.

It is claimed that Ashour also bought, along with this business partners, 78% of the shares at a value of US$40.5m of the Arab Finance House Foundation with the Qatar Islamic Bank agreeing to keep a quota of 22% of the remaining shares in the bank. The Governor of the Bank of Lebanon, Riad Salama, demanded that in order to complete the deal that none of the Gulf group would leave the Lebanese banking market completely, and this led to the Qatar Islamic Bank to maintain the 22% share in the bank to facilitate the sale.

© Al Marsad English. 2019.