The Department of State designated Michel Samaha as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under section 1(b) of Executive Order 13224. Samaha, a former Lebanese Minister of Information and Tourism, was arrested by Lebanese authorities in August 2012 for plotting to carry out terrorist attacks in Lebanon.
The Department of Treasury concurrently designated Michel Samaha as a Specially Designated National pursuant to Executive Order 13441 on the grounds that Samaha’s actions had the purpose or effect of undermining Lebanon’s democratic processes or institutions, contributing to the breakdown of the rule of law in Lebanon, supporting the reassertion of Syrian control or otherwise contributing to Syrian interference in Lebanon, or infringing upon or undermining Lebanese sovereignty.
Samaha has remained in Lebanese custody and has been charged with plotting to assassinate political and religious figures in Lebanon through targeted bombings. The goal of these attacks appears to have been an attempt to incite sectarian clashes in Lebanon on behalf of the Syrian regime. Samaha was also accused of transporting explosives for the planned attacks into Lebanon.
According to available information, in July 2012 former Syrian General Intelligence Directorate chief and current head of the Syrian National Security Bureau Ali Mamluk was involved in a plot with Samaha to conduct bombing attacks against Lebanese political and religious figures in northern Lebanon, and Mamluk provided money and explosives to Samaha for that purpose.
In August 2012, Samaha provided the explosives and cash to his paid accomplice at Samaha’s residence in Lebanon. On August 9, 2012, the Lebanese Internal Security Forces (ISF) arrested Samaha and brought him to ISF headquarters where, after being confronted with the evidence against him, Samaha admitted to complicity in the plot.
The designations under E.O. 13224 and under E.O. 13441 block all of Samaha’s property interests subject to U.S. jurisdiction and prohibit U.S. persons from engaging in transactions with or for the benefit of Samaha.