CASE OF THE CRIMINAL LAUNDRY
Money Launderers Who Support Terrorists Taken
to the Cleaners
Quick quiz. Guess which
city is the hub of a recent major international money-laundering and terrorism
A) New York, N.Y.
B) Beirut, Lebanon
C) Montreal, Canada
D) London, England
E) Little Rock, Arkansas
If you went with the
unlikely choice – Little Rock– you were right...though the
investigation ultimately touched on all of the above cities -- and more.
Pop Concert" was a hugely complicated case that began,
innocently enough, with a tip: in August 2001, an Arkansas resident told
our Arkansas agents that a man in Saudi Arabia was looking for American
clients to launder large amounts of money for him.
We opened an investigation
and found ourselves dealing with a man who just wanted to make a dishonest
living: he didn't care what illegal schemes he helped, he just wanted to
set up a money-laundering network that would produce his cut of the profits.
So we gave him a hand:
we introduced him to some of our very own undercover "American clients." And
in no time at all, the scheme involved a Lebanese bank; Israeli, Lebanese,
Canadian, U.S., and Saudi citizens; illegal drugs; companies in Montreal
and California, night-vision goggles, infrared aiming devices, and, finally,
the prospect of some very scary end users, Hezbollah agents in Athens,
thanks to international cooperation. Last month, five men were
indicted in a massive, international money-laundering scheme in Arkansas
and on 6/16, one of the five plus another man were charged in New York
in a scheme to export military night-vision equipment to the terrorist
group Hezbollah. Who made the case? Our law enforcement partners across
the country and around the world: England's New Scotland Yard, France's
Police Judiciare, Canada's Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the U.S. Bureau
of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the U.S. Commerce and Defense
departments, FBI Arkansas, New York, Los Angeles, and Detroit field offices,
and FBI legal attaches in London and Paris. A group effort that is getting
more and more efficient the more we partner together.
The moral of
the story. Actually, there are two.
1. Criminals are happy to help terrorist schemes if it means a dishonest buck
2. Terrorist plans can be forged anytime, anywhere, on any street and in any
In Little Rock Special Agent in Charge William Temple's words: "From Albany
to Anchorage, from Paris to Beijing -- and everywhere in between -- fighting
terrorism is the number one priority for every one of the FBI's field offices
and legal attaches. With the cooperation of our national and international
law enforcement partners, we will investigate potential terrorists, and their
abettors, wherever they surface."
Press Release |
New York Press Release