This week the Wall Street Journal reported the company that owns half of Butterball Turkey is being investigated by the Department of Justice for possible ties with a terrorist organization. Seaboard SEB has owned 50% of Butterball Turkey since 2010, and may have ties to Hezbollah through a US blacklisted individuals.  The Kansas based company mainly operates in the Americas, Africa, and the Caribbean.

Seaboard Corp. (NYSE: SEB) is a Fortune 500 company led by CEO Steve Bresky. It’s a global agribusiness corporation that did $5.59 billion in sales last year and owns a 50 percent stake in Butterball LLC. The company has operations in throughout the Americas, Africa and the Caribbean.- Kansas Business Journal

The WSJ stated that Kassim, Ali and Husayn Tajideen have been on the terrorist watch list since 2009 and 2010. The Tajideen family has known links to Hezbollah (allegedly giving Hezbollah millions of dollars over the years) and Seaboard has allegedly conducted business (selling wheat-flour products in Africa) with the family for years, even after they were put on the watch list. The WSJ continues in the article by saying that the Tajideen brothers often do business with a variety of companies as they are an heavily involved in trade throughout Africa.

The family’s long experience in Africa makes them valuable partners to handle the complex logistics of ferrying goods over international borders to destinations hobbled by corruption, political turmoil and violence.

Mr. Tajideen, 61 years old, has built a global network of food-trading companies, and real-estate holdings in Lebanon. He and his brothers Ali and Husayn run enterprises throughout the Middle East and in Africa, where the family has dominated commodities markets for poultry and rice.- WSJ

When asked by the WSJ, a Justice Department spokesman declined to comment on the investigation. The company denied entering into any deals with the Tajideen brothers after they were blacklisted. The Tajideen brothers also created new companies once they were listed as terrorist supporters in order to continue to trade with US companies.

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While aware of the Justice Department investigation, the company said it didn’t enter into any flour contracts with the firm after it was added to the U.S. blacklist. Seaboard said through a lawyer that it “has specific policies that prohibit doing business with companies and individuals designated” as terrorist organizations. It said the allegation arose from a competitor it didn’t name.- WSJ

The investigation is still on-going.

So, not to ruin Thanksgiving but if you are eating a Butterball turkey today, it may have supported Hezbollah’s terrorist activities.

Editorial cartoon courtesy of Robert L. Lang