The federal government on Thursday escalated its campaign to stanch the flow of what it says is dirty money to the Shiite militant group Hezbollah. Prosecutors filed a civil suit aimed at financially punishing American and Lebanese businesses that the government charges were behind a Hezbollah-controlled global network that laundered huge sums in South American cocaine proceeds.
The court action, filed in Manhattan federal court, seeks nearly half a billion dollars in penalties from three Lebanese financial organizations — the now-defunct Lebanese Canadian Bank and two Beirut-based money exchange houses — and 30 auto dealers in the United States. The $480 million in penalties is the sum of the drug proceeds that are alleged to have been laundered; the government is also seeking to freeze and seize assets traceable to those companies.
The suit represents the latest effort by the Obama administration to disrupt the financial network that sustains Hezbollah, an organization that the American government has long considered a terrorist group but that has become the pre-eminent military and political power in Lebanon.
Detailed news link: here
Direct link to the press release: here