Potential security threat flagged over mortar case


Ottawa Citizen, July 15 (citizen.ca)

An offshore company owned by a Lebanese-Canadian real estate developer has been accused of shipping a Chinese-made mortar shell from southeast Turkey to Syria that landed inside Islamic State-controlled territory.

The shell is believed to have fallen in an area near Ein Issa in Syria that is populated by residents of Mount Qara. It was a rare ordnance found by rebels fighting the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who were suspicious of the man who was selling them.

U.S. officials suspect that the shell originated in southeastern Turkey, and were concerned that the surface-to-surface RPG22 mortar round could have crossed the border into Syria where it is a favoured weapon of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

This week a Canadian technology company, Zeuron Technologies Ltd., has called on the U.S. House of Representatives to pass its Anti-Terrorism and Border Security Act.

The bill seeks to ensure that private security firms that provide private security do not carry out investigations or intercept communications.

The bill also seeks to discourage the U.S. government from contracting with foreign companies and individuals that are engaged in efforts to subvert or discredit private security firms.

The bill was written in response to an armed insurgency, including a bomb and arson attack on a Zeuron Technologies Ltd. facility in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Zeuron, the owner of the U.S. facility, was subsequently paid millions of dollars by the U.S. government for help in stopping terrorism and terrorism financing.

Zeuron is a subsidiary of a company, Latum Industrial Development Ltd., that is known as Major Market Enterprises Ltd. But the ownership of the two companies is not known. The Canadian owned company has issued an expatriate press release claiming to have built or owned close to 200 buildings in Jerusalem and Ramallah.

But public records of the Companies Office in Lebanon shows that instead, the company that bore that name is registered at a rate of one per million inhabitants in Lebanon.

There is evidence that all the publicly listed directors of Major Market Enterprises Ltd are named in an accounts of the day at the law firm, Sherco (Jordan) Ltd. They include Khalil Ahmed Ghobash, the Zoeon Inc. chief executive, and Irfan Maqdesh, an executive in the telecommunications firm Telesert, a company owned by Hassan Hamzy.

The law firm had admitted to the court that that its bookkeeping had been in error. In March it issued a news release explaining that a client, in this case Major Market Enterprises Ltd., had only one client. In its news release the firm said that at no time had it been served with a subpoena or had any obligation to execute a search or interview.

It is the daughter of Khalil Ghobash who owns the offshore company. There is no record of the other directors listed in the company account.

The son of Irfan Maqdesh, also a Zoeon employee, appears on the books of Major Market Enterprises Ltd. While Nasir Bakr, another Zoeon employee, was listed as a director on the books of the company, no corporate filings reveal that Mr. Maqdesh, 38, who was at one time dating the founder of Vodafone, sits on the board of directors of the offshore company.

A spokesman for Zeleon declined to comment on the failed shell company on Wednesday. Mr. Maqdesh was said to be travelling abroad.

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