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February 2011


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

DEA Says Lebanese Bank Laundered Drug Money Linked to Hezbollah

By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — The DEA and Treasury Department on Thursday accused the Lebanese Canadian Bank SAL and its subsidiaries (LCB) of laundering hundreds of millions of dollars in drug profits by an organization linked to the Lebanese organization Hezbollah.

In its announcement, authorities designated the bank as a “primary money laundering concern.”

Authorities said that drug kingpin Ayman Joumaa and his Lebanon-based drug trafficking and money laundering network, along with several other individuals, have used LCB to launder as much as $200 million a month in narcotics proceeds.

Authorities say that Hezbollah derived financial support from Joumaa’s network, which moves drugs from South America to Europe and the Middle East via Africa.

“The Lebanese Canadian Bank for years has participated in a sophisticated money laundering scheme involving used cars purchased in the United States and consumer goods overseas,” DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart said in a statement. “Thanks to DEA-led operations, as well as today’s Treasury action, we are exposing and disrupting this money laundering network and its connections to global drug trafficking and Hizballah,” said DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart.

“This action seeks to protect the U.S. financial system from the illicit proceeds flowing through LCB and to deprive this international narcotics trafficking and money laundering network of its preferred access point into the formal financial system,” said Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Stuart Levey in a statement. “Any financial institution that collaborates in illicit conduct on this scale risks losing its access to the United States.”

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