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Thursday, February 10, 2011

US Drug Enforcement Administration accuses Lebanese Canadian Bank of Laundering Hezbollah Drug Money

The Lebanese Canadian Bank SAL facilitated money laundering by an international drug- trafficking network and has ties to the terrorist organization Hezbollah, according to the U.S.

The Beirut, Lebanon-based bank, through management complicity and failure of its internal controls, has been used “extensively” by people associated with the network to move as much as $200 million a month in proceeds from illicit drug deals, according to a Treasury Department statement today. The department filed a notice proposing banning U.S. financial institutions from opening or maintaining certain accounts for the closely held bank, known as LCB.

The U.S. today designated the bank as being of “primary money laundering concern,” bringing its conduct to the attention of the financial community and limiting its ability to be used for criminal purposes, according to the Treasury Department. 

The U.S. is seeking “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 Stuart Levey, the Treasury Department’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, at a news conference in Washington.

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