NEW YORK (AP) — Federal authorities in New York have blamed Lebanese financial institutions for wiring more than $300 million into the United States in a money laundering scheme aimed at benefiting the militant group Hezbollah.
The U.S. government says in a lawsuit filed Thursday in Manhattan it seeks nearly a half-billion dollars in money laundering penalties from some Lebanese financial entities and 30 U.S. car buyers and a U.S. shipping company. It also says it's entitled to claim their assets as forfeitable under U.S. money laundering laws.
Prosecutors say the $300 million was used to buy used cars and ship them to West Africa in a money laundering scheme. They say Hezbollah money laundering channels were used to ship proceeds from the car sales and narcotics trafficking back to Lebanon.
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