Financer of Iran-backed Hezbollah arrested, to be extradited to US

A Lebanese and Belgian citizen considered a key financier of the Iranian-backed group Hezbollah was arrested Friday in Bucharest, Romania’s capital, and is to be extradited to the US, federal authorities said.

Mohammad Ibrahim Bazzi, 58, who was labeled a “global terrorist” by the United States in 2018 when $10 million was offered for information about his whereabouts, has funneled millions of dollars to Hezbollah over the years, authorities said.

US Attorney Breon Peace in Brooklyn said the extradition of Bazzi and Lebanese citizen Talal Chahine, 78, was sought on charges contained in an indictment returned last month in Brooklyn federal court.

DEA Acting Special Agent-in-Charge Kafafian added: “The defendants in this case attempted to provide continued financial assistance to Hizballah, a foreign terrorist organization responsible for death and destruction.”

As alleged, following Bazzi’s designation, Bazzi and Chahine conspired to force or induce an individual located in the United States to liquidate their interests in certain real estate assets located in Michigan and covertly transfer hundreds of thousands of dollars in proceeds of the liquidation out of the United States to Bazzi and Chahine in Lebanon.

For example, Bazzi and Chahine proposed that the funds be transferred through a third party in China as part of a fictitious purchase of restaurant equipment from a Chinese manufacturer and a third party in Lebanon as part of a fictitious real estate purchase.

Read more: Alarabiya News