The Washington Institute for Near East Policy has published a good report on the Jihadist terrorist group Hezbollah’s (spelled in the report as “Hizballah”) criminal activities, their money laundering and finance activities in particular, which will no doubt be of interest to SFW readers. Here are some excerpts and a link to the full report:
• DEA agents routinely report links between Hizballah and other terrorist and organized crime groups throughout South America, West Africa, and Europe.
• Hizballah has long exploited the Lebanese banking system to bolster the group’s coffers. The startling growth of Lebanon’s banks illustrates the degree of Hizballah’s money-laundering activity in the wake of Hizballah’s 2006 war with Israel. Banking data suggests the Lebanese banking system essentially doubled between 2006 and 2011, the result of a massive surge in dollar-dominated deposits from non-residents and members of the Lebanese diaspora. Foreign exchange reserves and gold reserves of the Central Bank of Lebanon tell a similarly story — during the war the funds skyrocketed. The miraculous growth experienced by the Lebanese banking system during costly reconstruction efforts is suspicious at best.
The fastest growing bank in Lebanon over the last decade has been the Lebanese Canadian Bank — the bank most centrally involved in Hizballah’s finances. It provided services and loans to Hizballah entities and received large deposits without reporting their source to the central bank. Hizballah has encroached on every part of Lebanon’s economy from its banking system to real estate and construction; however, they also seem to embrace illicit finance as a main source of revenue. Indeed, these illicit networks connect back to Hizballah’s coffers through Hussain al-Shami, a senior leader in charge of foreign donations to Hizballah’s fundraising organizations.