Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Hizbullah is using U.S. banks and other financial institutions to launder hundreds of millions of dollars of illegal drug revenue

Hizballah, of course, is someone else’s cat’s paw, and it’s replacement for Mugniyah is, of course, a MEMBER OF THE IRGC
On Dec. 15, federal authorities filed a complaint of a “massive international scheme” in which Hizbullah-linked banks laundered drug money through the United States.
The complaint, filed by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Justice Department, charged that Hizbullah was buying used cars in the U.S. for transport to and sale in West Africa, mostly Benin.
“Cash from the sale of the cars, along with proceeds of narcotics trafficking, were then funneled to Lebanon through Hizbullah controlled money laundering channels,” the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York said. “Substantial portions of the cash were paid to Hizbullah, which the U.S. Department of State designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in 1997.”
Officials identified the alleged money-launderers for Hizbullah as the Lebanese Canadian Bank as well as Hassan Ayash Exchange Co. and Ellissa Holding, all of them based in Lebanon. They said Washington has failed to convince the Hizbullah-dominated government of Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati to act against these institutions.
“DEA and its partners have exposed the Lebanese Canadian Bank as a major money laundering source for Hizbullah,” said DEA administrator Michele Leonhart. “The connection between drug traffickers and terror networks is evident.”
The Hizbullah money-laundering scheme was said to have involved 30 car buyers as well as a shipping company in the United States. The complaint seeks $483.1 million in penalties for the alleged laundering.
The United States has already imposed sanctions on several of the targets in the federal investigation of Hizbullah. This included Hassan Ayash and Ellissa, both of them said to be linked to Ayman Joumaa, a Lebanese drug trafficker linked to Hizbullah and himself indicted on drug trafficking and money-laundering in the United States in cooperation with Mexican and Colombian drug cartels.
Joumaa was said to launder up to $200 million per month.
Officials said Hizbullah sent funds through wire transfers to purchase used cars for shipment to Benin, where Elissa operates a subsidiary. Sales revenue was transported to Lebanon through couriers and smugglers by Hizbullah operative Osama Salhab.
Salhab also owns Cybamar Swiss, a company based in Michigan that shipped the cars to West Africa.
“Cash transported from West Africa was often received at the Beirut airport, where Hizbullah security safeguarded its passage to its final destination,” the U.S. Attorney’s office said. 

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