Feds Seize $150M Linked to Hezbollah

Bank accused of helping group launder cash
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 21, 2012 8:31 AM CDT
Feds Seize $150M Linked to Hezbollah
The building that houses the Lebanese Canadian Bank is seen in Beirut.   (AP Photo/Grace Kassab)

The US has seized $150 million believed to have been part of a massive Hezbollah money-laundering scheme. Prosecutors say the money, held in a New York account linked to the now-defunct Lebanese Canadian Bank, was connected to a scheme in which the profits from drug trafficking and other crimes was used to buy used cars in the US, which were then sent to West Africa, reports the Wall Street Journal. Proceeds from the car sales were then funneled to Hezbollah, which the US classes as a terrorist organization.

"Money is the lifeblood of terrorist and narcotics organizations, and while banks which launder money for terrorists and narco-traffickers may be located abroad, today's announcement demonstrates that those banks and their assets are not beyond our reach," said the US attorney in Manhattan. The bank holding the cash was not accused of wrongdoing. Officials involved in the case say they decided to confiscate the New York funds because they didn't have faith that Lebanon would help them reclaim funds linked to the scheme. (More Lebanese Canadian Bank stories.)

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