More and more we see that the international community needs to conduct a legitimate investigation into Hezbollah's cash flow for reconstruction since the light of suspicion continues to shine upon the source of Hezbollah's funds.
The U.S. Treasury Department, in a shift in its policy toward North Korea, has decided to treat all transactions involving the nation as suspect and subject to sanctions while dictator Kim Jong Il develops nuclear weapons.
``Given the regime's counterfeiting of U.S. currency, narcotics trafficking and use of accounts worldwide to conduct proliferation-related transactions, the line between illicit and licit North Korean money is nearly invisible,'' said Stuart Levey, Treasury's undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.
Levey's statement to Bloomberg News departs from Treasury's earlier position that it was targeting only overtly illegal activities by North Korean companies. The policy change, which may impinge on foreign banks, coincides with an effort by President George W. Bush to pressure North Korea to return to talks aimed at scrapping its nuclear-weapon and ballistic- missile programs.
The Jordanian authorities have arrested Bank Al Madina’s formal Chairman Ibrahim Abu Ayyash and Lebanon started the legal procedures for his extradition according to reports coming from Amman. His arrest could help in finding out who was behind former PM Hariri’s murder.
According to UN reports The February 2005 car bombing in Beirut, may have been partly intended to cover up a corruption and bank fraud scandal that siphoned hundreds of millions of dollars to top Syrian and Lebanese. officials. [PV -- Could Nasrallah be one?]
Bank documents, court filings, and interviews with investigators and other sources show that some of the officials were deeply involved from the late 1990s until early 2003 in a kickback scheme that supplied them with cash, real estate, cars, and jewelry in exchange for protecting and facilitating a multibillion-dollar money laundering operation at Lebanon's Bank al-Madina that allowed terrorist organizations, peddlers of West African "blood diamonds," Saddam Hussein, and Russian gangsters to hide income and convert hot money into legitimate bank accounts around the world.
The last sentence is crucial to our investigation at Myrtus.
So far, we know the Banco Delta Asia in Macau has been used by North Korea to funnel counterfeit money; and that al-Madina bank in Lebanon has been used to warehouse the world's illicit funds and then give some of them to Syrian and Lebanese politicians in a money laundering scheme, while also converting illicit funds into legitimate bank accounts. What could be relevant is that both banks -- Banco Delta Asia, used by North Korea for counterfeiting and other illegal activity, and the al Madina Bank -- have a correspondent relationship with each other through Wachovia, which you can see here: http://www.home.wachovia.com/corp_inst/page/textonly/0,,14_982_4696_2296,00.html. I think this allowed them to wire money back and forth much more easily.
Did North Korea's counterfeit money go into Banco Delta Asia, get transferred to al Madina, converted into a legitimate bank account, and then wind up in the pockets of certain Syrian and Lebanese politicians? If so, Hezbollah could be paying for reconstruction with counterfeit funds from North Korea even if they aren't using counterfeit bills. We can only wonder at this stage. Now, I do not suggest that Wachovia is involved with any illicit transaction that may have occured between these or any other banks. I am sure they would put an end to it immediately if they found out. But perhaps they should take a little look at their records to see if they unwittingly allowed an illegal network to occur in their institution, especially since the US is only going after overt illegal activity on the part of North Korea.