17 Dec 2011

$US300m Hizbollah laundry operation in US

10:43 am on 17 December 2011

US prosecutors say three Lebanese financial institutions linked to Hizbollah laundered more than $US300 million through the second-hand car market in the United States.

The BBC reports the Lebanese Canadian Bank and two money-exchange firms are accused of using drug-trafficking and other criminal proceeds to buy and ship cars to West Africa.

Cash was then smuggled to Lebanon, along with funds from Colombian and Mexican cartels.

Prosecutors are seeking $US480 million in penalties. They are also seeking to freeze and seize the assets of the companies, along with those of about 30 car dealers and shipping company.

Hizbollah was designated as a foreign terrorist organisation by the US government in 1997.