A money laundering scheme involving the buying and selling of used cars has Lebanese Canadian Bank and two Lebanese exchange houses with a lawsuit filed against them for over $480 million in funding for the Hezbollah terrorist group.
The lawsuit, filed in Manhattan by federal prosecutors, indicates that the cars were being bought with money from Lebanon, and then sales proceeds and drug trafficking money were then laundered back through Hezbollah channels to Lebanon.
“The intricate scheme laid out in today’s complaint reveals the deviously creative ways that terrorist organizations are funding themselves and moving their money, and it puts into stark relief the nexus between narcotics trafficking and terrorism,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement today.
U.S. financial institutions have cut all ties to the Lebanese Canadian Bank after it was identified in the suit, so no funds can be sent to the U.S.
Other Lebanese exchange firms involved in the scheme are the Hassan Ayash Exchange Co. and Ellissa Holding. Back in 1997, the Clinton administration identified Hezbollah as a foreign terrorist organization.
– By: Alexandra Koken