Beirut Bank Seen as a Hub of Hizbullah's Financing

(New York Times) Jo Becker - Last February, the Obama administration accused the Lebanese Canadian Bank of laundering money for an international cocaine ring with ties to the Shiite militant group Hizbullah. Now, in the wake of the bank's exposure and arranged sale, its ledgers have been opened to reveal evidence of an intricate global money-laundering apparatus that, with the bank as its hub, appeared to let Hizbullah move huge sums of money into the legitimate financial system. On Tuesday, federal prosecutors in Virginia announced the indictment of Ayman Joumaa, the man at the center of the Lebanese Canadian Bank case. Intelligence from several countries points to the direct involvement of high-level Hizbullah officials in the South American cocaine trade. According to Lebanon's drug enforcement chief, Col. Adel Mashmoushi, one path for bringing cocaine into his country was aboard a weekly Iranian-operated flight from Venezuela to Damascus.

2011-12-15 00:00:00

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