Lebanon’s Hezbollah is denying US allegations of involvement in a $300 million laundering scheme and drugs trafficking, with its deputy leader claiming in comments published Tuesday the charges were false and that America was “not fooling anyone” with accusations meant to harm his anti-Israeli group.
Sheik Naim Kassem said the Iran-backed Shiite Muslim group does not follow “a religiously prohibited path” to develop its resources and that the accusations were part of U.S. efforts to tarnish Hezbollah’s image.
His remarks to supporters Monday evening followed accusations by U.S. federal authorities last week that Lebanese financial institutions wired more than $300 million to the United States in a laundering scheme they said used the U.S. financial system to benefit Hezbollah.
“America’s allegations of money laundering or financing the group from narcotics money are not fooling anyone,” Kassem said.
The remarks, published on Hezbollah’s website Tuesday, were the group’s first on the issue.
The U.S. government said in the lawsuit filed in a Manhattan federal court that it seeks nearly a half-billion dollars in money-laundering penalties from some Lebanese financial entities, 30 U.S. car buyers and a U.S. shipping company.
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