Federal authorities cracked down last week on what they say is a sprawling, Austin-based criminal enterprise with ties to Hezbollah.
Two Lebanese brothers, Hussein Ali “Mike” Yassine and Mohammed Ali “Steve” Yassine, and eight others were arrested in a federal bust last week.
The men appeared in federal court Tuesday where new details trickled out about the broad array of crimes of which they are accused, including money laundering, dealing cocaine, gun crimes, and funneling money to Hezbollah, a Lebanon-based Islamic militant group with ties to Iran, according to a front page, above-the-fold story in the Austin American-Statesman by Gary Dinges and Patrick George. An FBI informant helped uncover their alleged crimes.
During a raid of the Yassine Enterprises office on West Fourth Street, the feds discovered $200,000 in cash stashed in a safe and a $45,000 check made out to a relative of the Yassines in Lebanon who, according to the IRS, has ties to Hezbollah.
Together, the brothers Yassine own eight Austin bars and nightclubs, most of which sport ridiculous names: Pure, Spill, Kiss & Fly, Treasure Island, Hyde, Fuel, Malaia, and Roial. Dinges and George reported that Yassine Enterprises also have earned the ire of state officials, as the organization allegedly owes some $600,000 in “state sales and mixed-beverage taxes.” Due to this, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has pulled the bars’ liquor licenses.
Additionally, Mike Yassine is also a suspect in a rape case and a homicide, Dinges and George wrote.