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US seizes $150 million in Hezbollah launder probe

NEW YORK (AP) - U.S. authorities say they've seized $150 million linked to a scheme by the Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah to launder drug money.

Prosecutors in New York City announced on Monday they used a seizure warrant to take the money from an escrow account in Lebanon.

The prosecutors filed a lawsuit last year demanding hundreds of millions of dollars in money laundering penalties from Lebanese financial institutions and other entities.

Authorities had said that since 2007 more than $300 million was wired from Lebanon to the United States to buy used cars for resale in West Africa. Prosecutors said they had evidence Hezbollah used back channels to wire cash from the cars and drug-dealing proceeds back to Lebanon.

Hezbollah has no representative in the U.S. No representative could be contacted overnight in the Middle East.


(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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