Alleged Hezbollah financier extradited to US

Published April 27, 2023
Supporters of Lebanon’s Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah wave Hezbollah flags as they listen to him via a screen during a rally on the 7th anniversary of the end of Hezbollah’s 2006 war with Israel, in Aita al-Shaab village in southern Lebanon, August 16, 2013. — Reuters
Supporters of Lebanon’s Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah wave Hezbollah flags as they listen to him via a screen during a rally on the 7th anniversary of the end of Hezbollah’s 2006 war with Israel, in Aita al-Shaab village in southern Lebanon, August 16, 2013. — Reuters

NEW YORK: A dual Lebanese-Belgian citizen accused by the United States of financing Hezbollah has been extradited from Romania and faced sanctions evasion and money laundering charges on Wednesday in Brooklyn federal court, prosecutors said.

Mohammad Bazzi, who Washington says has provided millions of dollars to Hezbollah, was arrested in February on charges of covertly selling real estate he owned in Michigan and transferring the funds abroad, violating US sanctions laws.

Bazzi was extradited on Tuesday, and pleaded not guilty in a Wednesday court hearing before US Magistrate Judge Peggy Kuo, according to a spokesman for the US Attorney’s office in Brooklyn.

He was ordered detained pending trial. The US Treasury Department placed Bazzi, 58, on its sanctions list in 2018 over his alleged ties to Hezbollah, which Washington considers a terrorist organisation.

Lawyers for Bazzi did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Prosecutors in Brooklyn last week charged another alleged Hezbollah financier, Nazem Ahmad, with evading US sanctions by exporting hundreds of millions of dollars of diamonds and art.

Published in Dawn, April 27th, 2023

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