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February 12, 2011

US Accuses Lebanese Bank of Money-Laundering Drug Money for Hezbollah

Like Sheriff Joe says, this is a big f'n' deal. (NYT link)

During a news conference on Thursday morning, Stuart A. Levey, a treasury under secretary, described an elaborate global clunkers-for-cash kind of scheme in which senior managers at the bank used its connections to financial institutions like exchange houses around the world to help launder money for Ayman Joumaa, whom the Treasury Department has declared a drug kingpin. Mr. Levey said Mr. Joumaa, whose assets in the United States were frozen last month by the department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, moved shipments of cocaine from Colombia through West Africa to buyers in Europe.

The bulk cash from those sales was deposited into accounts at the Lebanese Canadian Bank, and then wired to used car dealers in the United States, who would buy vehicles and ship them to West Africa or other overseas destinations to be sold, the complaint said.

My ninja tipster tells me it's unusual to see the US so publickly link Hezbollah to drug trade. The DEA Special Agent in Charge asserts that drug money is filling the funding gap as money from terrorist state sponsors dries up.

Link to Notice of Finding.

Note the provision of the Patriot Act used to grant the Secretary "a range of options that can be adapted to target specific money laundering and terrorist financing concerns most effectively. These options give the Secretary the authority to bring additional pressure on those jurisdictions and institutions that pose money laundering threats".

Good thing House Democrats pitched a sore loser fit and refused to extend the law. Lucky for us we got Leon Panetta and CNN.


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posted by Dave In Texas at 09:01 AM

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