US says Lebanese bank laundered $240 mln with used cars

By REUTERS
December 16, 2011 02:04

NEW YORK - Three Lebanese financial institutions linked to Hezbollah laundered over $240 million through the United States used car market, federal prosecutors accused on Thursday.

The civil forfeiture claim by US prosecutors in New York accused the Lebanese Canadian Bank and two money exchange companies of buying and shipping used cars from the United States to West Africa. There, the cars were sold and the cash smuggled into Lebanon by people acting as money couriers, often working for Hezbollah, court documents said.

Washington considers Hezbollah, backed by Iran and Syria, a terrorist group. US Drug Enforcement Administration officials say that the Lebanese group has become increasingly involved in the drug trade, facilitating the distribution and sale of cocaine in West Africa.


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