Countering Hezbollah’s Transnational Criminal Enterprise

January 11, 2018
12:00 pm -

Event Video

Introductory Remarks: 
Toby Dershowitz, FDD’s Senior Vice President for Government Relations and Strategy
Speakers (from left to right): 
Tony Badran, FDD Research Fellow
Dr. Emanuele Ottolenghi, FDD Senior Fellow
Derek Maltz, Former Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency
Kelly Jane Torrance, Former Deputy Manager, The Weekly Standard

Event Description

The Foundation for Defense of Democracies hosted a lunch conversation on Countering Hezbollah’s Transnational Criminal Enterprise taking place Thursday, January 11, 2018, from 12:00pm to 1:30pm. The discussion featured Derek Maltz, former DEA official who served as Special Agent in Charge of DOJ, DEA, and the Special Operations Division; Dr. Emanuele Ottolenghi, Senior Fellow at FDD; and Tony Badran, Research Fellow at FDD. Kelly Jane Torrance, Deputy Managing Editor of The Weekly Standard, moderated the conversation.

A recent Politico investigation dives into the complex and ongoing fight to counter Hezbollah’s illicit activities in Latin America and around the world. He outlines the global narco-trafficking and money laundering enterprise funding Hezbollah’s terrorist operations, as well as Iran’s relationship with the powerful “Party of God.” The conversation addressed how Hezbollah’s operations exploit weak institutions in Latin America, what role Iran plays, and how the U.S. can better combat and weaken transnational criminal organizations aligning with terrorist groups.

Countering Hezbollah’s Transnational Criminal Enterprise
A conversation with Derek Maltz, Dr. Emanuele Ottolenghi, and Tony Badran
moderated by Kelly Jane Torrance

Thursday, January 11, 2018
12:00pm – 1:30pm

Tony Badran is a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, where he focuses on Lebanon, Hezbollah, Syria, and the geopolitics of the Levant. Born and raised in Lebanon, Mr. Badran has testified to the House of Representatives on several occasions regarding U.S. policy toward Iran and Syria. His writings have appeared in publications including The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, and The Weekly Standard. He is a columnist and Levant analyst for Tablet magazine.

Derek S. Maltz was the Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Special Operations Division (SOD) from May 2005 through July 2014. Mr. Maltz previously held the position of the Associate SAC of the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force. As the Agent in Charge of SOD, Mr. Maltz was instrumental in the growth of SOD from 9-30 participating agencies, while incorporating the DOJ’s priority International Organized Crime and Gang Operational programs into the center. Mr. Maltz formally established the Counter Narco-Terrorism Operations Center (CNTOC) in January 2007. Since its establishment, the CNTOC successfully coordinated several significant narco-terrorism operations, including the identification of the Lebanese Canadian Bank as a facilitator involved with an international trade-based money laundering scheme supporting Hezbollah, and a subsequent U.S. Treasury Patriot Act 311 action. This was the first time a 311 action was used in this manner in conjunction with law enforcement on a drug case, which ultimately led to a $150 million seizure. Mr. Maltz retired from the DEA after 28 years of service and now serves as the Executive Director, Government Relations for Pen-Link Ltd., a firm providing law enforcement and intelligence agencies with state-of-the-art software.

Dr. Emanuele Ottolenghi is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and an expert at its Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance focused on Hezbollah’s Latin America illicit threat networks and Iran’s history of sanctions evasion. His research has examined Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, including its links to the country’s energy sector and procurement networks. His areas of expertise also include the EU’s Middle East policymaking, transatlantic relations, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and Israel’s domestic politics. He is author of The Pasdaran: Inside Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Iran: The Looming Crisis, and Under a Mushroom Cloud: Europe, Iran and the Bomb. Prior to joining FDD, Dr. Ottolenghi headed the Transatlantic Institute in Brussels and taught Israel Studies at St. Antony’s College, Oxford University.

Kelly Jane Torrance is deputy managing editor of The Weekly Standard, the magazine Slate calls “the preeminent political journal in America.” Her work, which has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, has also been published in, among other venues, the Los Angeles Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, San Diego Union-Tribune, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, New York Sun, The University of Chicago Magazine, National Review, The New Criterion, Reason, and Capitol File. She is a frequent guest discussing politics on cable news. A former full-time film critic, she has interviewed actors, writers, and directors in D.C., New York, Los Angeles, and beyond. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in honors philosophy from the University of British Columbia.