Yassine Enterprises facing drug, money laundering charges

Sarah White

A court hearing on Tuesday will determine whether 10 defendants connected with Yassine Enterprises and charged with various counts of money laundering and illegal drug distributiond will be kept in federal custody before their trial.

Yassine Enterprises operates nine venues (Treasure Island Pirate Bar, Pure Ultra Lounge, Kiss & Fly, Stack Burger Bar, Malaia World Lounge, Roial, Hyde, Fuel and Spill) and is being investigated by the FBI, the IRS, the Drug Enforcement Administration, The Texas Comptroller’s Office, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission and the Austin Police Department.

Among the detainees is 40 year-old company owner and president Hussein Ali Yassine.

“A detention hearing is a pre-trial court proceeding whereby [U.S. Magistrate Judge Dennis Green] will decide whether a bond will be set for a defendant pending trial or whether the defendant will remain in custody pending trial,” Daryl Fields said, spokesman for the U.S Attorney’s Office. “The Government, by filing motions to detain, is seeking the pretrial detention of the 10 defendants charged in this case.”

He said evidence and testimony will be presented tomorrow to assist the judge in determining whether the defendants are dangerous or likely to attempt flight.

“If the judge finds, based on the evidence presented, that the defendant poses a threat to the community or is a risk to flee jurisdiction prior to trial, the judge typically will remand the defendant to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending trial,” Fields said. “If not, then the Judge will typically set bond and conditions for release for the defendant.”

Fields said the Government has filed separate motions to detain for all 10 defendants.

Allie Murphy, public relations junior and officer of the UT student chapter of the United Nations Children’s Fund, said she and other UNICEF officers have had to find a new venue for a fundraising event scheduled to take place on Thursday at Treasure Island.

“After we found out about the federal investigation everybody was freaking out,” Murphy said. “Our president was frantic. We knew that we did not want in any way to be associated with [Yassine Enterprises]. We knew that we did not want any people attending our event to spend money there.”

Murphy said in the past the UT chapter of UNICEF has held the fundraiser at other bars owned by Yassine Enterprises, including Spill and Roial.

Biology senior Tyler Myers said he has also been affected by the closing of these nightclubs.

“I love Kiss & Fly,” Myers said. “I used to go there a lot. I did not really like Pure, but I know that Treasure Island had really cheap drinks sometimes.”

However, Myers said the venues made him feel uncomfortable at times and he had heard alarming stories in the past of activities that happened at the nightclubs.

“Treasure Island had a really sketchy feel to it,” Myers said. “I also used to know someone in a management position at Kiss & Fly and I heard some stories about managers letting minors drink and other things.”

Printed on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 as: Yassine Enterprises facing multiple charges