Lebanese Canadian Bank laundered money for Hezbollah, says US in lawsuit
Source: BI-ME with Bloomberg , Author: Posted by BI-ME staff
Posted: Sat December 17, 2011 12:56 pm

INTERNATIONAL. Lebanese Canadian Bank and two Lebanese exchange houses helped launder more than US$480 million for the Hezbollah terrorist group in a scheme that involved buying and selling used cars, the U.S. said in a civil complaint.

Federal prosecutors filed a lawsuit in Manhattan today claiming the defendants took money from Lebanon to buy used cars in the U.S. and sell them in West Africa. Money from the car sales and from drug trafficking was funneled through Hezbollah- linked money laundering channels back to Lebanon, according to the complaint.

“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.

The U.S. Treasury Department in February identified Lebanese Canadian Bank as a “financial institution of primary money laundering concern,” according to the statement. As a result, financial institutions in the U.S. cut their ties to the bank, making it impossible for it to send money to the U.S., prosecutors said.

Hezbollah, based in Lebanon, was designated as a foreign terrorist organization by U.S. President Bill Clinton in 1997. The suit filed Thursday also names as defendants Hassan Ayash Exchange Co. and Ellissa Holding, both Lebanese exchange firms.

 

MIDDLE EAST BUSINESS COMMENT & ANALYSIS

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KUWAIT. According to a newly released report by Kuwait Finance House Research, the global sukuk market saw a modest volume of US$31.14 billion in new sukuk issuances in 1Q2014. This volume represents a drop of 9.82% compared to US$34.53 billion worth of issuances in 1Q13.
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INTERNATIONAL. The WGC pointed out that the Chinese bank savings amount to US$7.5 trillion but only about US$300 billionn is allocated to gold, signifying the potential for gold demand to grow as Chinese wealth climbs.
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UAE. "A similar drop to 2013 is unlikely. Those who wanted to get out of gold did, and the rest of 2014 will probably be a year of sideways trading."
SAUDI ARABIA. The GCC said in a statement that foreign ministers of the six-member body had met in Riyadh for a comprehensive review of measures used to implement foreign and security policies.
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