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Brazilian arrested for connection with Hezbollah changes version in testimony and says he was offered US$100,000 to kill

One of the three Brazilians arrested by the Federal Police on suspicion of involvement with the radical Islamic group Hezbollah has changed his initial version and has now stated in a statement that he was enticed to carry out an attack in Brazil, having received an offer to pocket more than US$100,000 ( around R$550,000) to kill people.

A CNN had access to this new statement, given on the 22nd to the PF Combating Terrorism Division.

The prisoner, who is a musician from Rio, said he was asked whether he was part of a criminal faction and whether he would be capable of committing murders. He replied no.

The approaches would have been made by people linked to the group and point to “Mohamad”, a Syrian naturalized Brazilian identified by the PF investigation as Hezbollah’s main link in Brazil and who is on the run.

Messias reported in his statement that he always responded negatively to the approaches. The musician said that, on one of the occasions, an individual insisted asking if he “would not be able to kill even for a lot of money, for 100 thousand dollars or more”, to which he replied “no again”, according to the transcript of the statements made to the PF.

The prisoner said he changed his version in his statement because at first he was scared, scared and surprised.

In this new statement, he said that he wanted to rectify the information previously provided, giving details of the trip to Lebanon.

In the first version he said that he had been invited to go to Lebanon “because of the music” and “to sing pagode”. The PF didn’t believe it.

Luxury hotel and cash payments

In his new statement, the Brazilian stated that his recruiter paid for his tickets to Beirut, picking him up at the airport and taking him to a luxury hotel on the seafront.

He said that, “at a certain point during the trip, he came to me to see if everything was ok”. He replied that he was going through difficulties because he was the one supporting the family and he was distant. He took the opportunity to ask her to make a deposit of R$500 into his wife’s account.

The investigator then said that he had given his wife’s bank account details and that he later confirmed the credit to the account with his wife.

Operation

On November 8, a PF operation initially arrested two people in an operation to dismember an alleged cell of the radical Islamic group Hezbollah that was planning attacks on Jewish targets in Brazil. A Brazilian was arrested the following week, as part of the first operation, in Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro.

On the day of his arrest, another prisoner told the PF in a statement that, on a trip he took to Beirut in April after being recruited in Brazil, he met privately with what was supposed to be a head of the organization who told him that “they needed people capable of kill and kidnap.”

The PF seeks to advance investigations into the possible presence of Hezbollah in Brazil by collecting statements and evidence obtained in the search and seizure of addresses of linked people, as well as cloud information from cell phones and other electronic systems of the detainees, according to PF sources.

Source: CNN Brasil

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