US sanctions Lebanese bank with TBML associations

The US government has sanctioned Lebanon-based Jammal Trust Bank for aiding and transferring money to the Iran-backed Hezbollah group.

Four people providing money for the group and the Palestinian militant organisation Hamas have also been sanctioned.

Closing the net

Earlier this year it appeared the net was closing on trade-based money laundering (TBML) operations allegedly perpetrated by Hezbollah, which the US authorities describe as a terrorist group.

The Shi’a Islamist group based in Lebanon allegedly operates a TBML scheme that involves the laundering of drug proceeds generated mainly in the US through sales in Africa of US sourced vehicles shipped via intermediaries in Latin America (Trade Based Financial Crime, 7 January 2019).

TBML links

It is unclear whether or not Jammal Trust Bank was involved in TBML but in 2011 sanctions were imposed on the Lebanese-Canadian Bank (LCB).

At the time, US officials said LCB was “facilitating the money laundering activities of an international narcotics trafficking and money laundering network…through trade-based money laundering involving consumer goods throughout the world, including through used car dealerships in the United States.”

Hezbollah’s banker

The treasury department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said Jammal Trust Bank enabled “banking activities for Hezbollah” and had been added to the executive sanctions order for financially supporting the group.

“Jammal Trust provides support and services to Hezbollah’s executive council and the Martyrs Foundation, which funnels money to the families of suicide bombers,” said Sigal Mandelker, the treasury’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence. 

“This action is a warning to all who provide services to this terrorist group,” she concluded.

Categories: Trade Based Financial crimes News

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