The Justice Department is currently investigating the company that sells your Thanksgiving turkey for potential terrorist ties.
Seaboard (seb) is an international company that, among other things, sells Butterball turkeys. The Wall Street Journal reports that in 2010 it bought a 50% stake in Butterball, the largest turkey producer in the U.S. Now, investigators are trying to determine if Seaboard has business ties to individuals who are on a U.S. government blacklist for allegedly supporting the Lebanon-based militant group, Hezbollah.
The allegations are that a Seaboard milling subsidiary in Africa has done business with Kassim Tajideen, a man who was blacklisted by the U.S. government in 2009 and 2010 for allegedly financing Hezbollah to the tune of tens of millions of dollars and running cover companies for the organization in Africa.
Tajideen says that he has no ties to Hezbollah and that he has never even heard of Seaboard, claiming that investigators often confuse him with two of his brothers who are also on the blacklist, Ali and Husayn Tajideen. Ali says he’s never heard of Seaboard and has no ties to the organization. While Husayn has heard of Seaboard, he claims to have no recent business dealings with the company.
Seaboard claims that it didn’t enter into any contracts with firms connected to the Tajideen family after they’d been blacklisted by the U.S. government. Even if the company did so unintentionally, it could face civil penalties, according the the Journal.
Federal investigators are particularly interested in an alleged meeting between Seaboard and a Hezbollah financier in 2012. The Journal writes that people with knowledge of the meeting say the two parties had discussed using a middleman to hide Seaboard’s ties to Tajideen firms.
Seaboard says that it has no knowledge of that meeting and, according to an email obtained by the Journal, had issued a staff directive in 2010 that clarified business with the Tajideen family or their firms would be illegal.
Seaboard could not immediately be reached for comment.