US says 'key Hezbollah financier' arrested in Bucharest


A Lebanese and Belgian citizen considered a key financier of Hezbollah has been arrested in Bucharest, Romania's capital, U.S. 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.

U.S. 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.

"Mohammad Bazzi thought that he could secretly move hundreds of thousands of dollars from the United States to Lebanon without detection by law enforcement," Peace said in a release. "Today's arrest proves that Bazzi was wrong."

Charges lodged against Bazzi and Chahine included conspiracy to cause U.S. individuals to conduct unlawful transactions with a global terrorist and money laundering conspiracy. It was unclear who will represent the men when they arrive in the United States.

Daniel J. Kafafian, acting head of the Drug Enforcement Administration in New Jersey, said the defendants "attempted to provide continued financial assistance to Hezbollah."

Romanian law enforcement authorities took Bazzi into custody after he arrived in Bucharest on Friday, according to the release announcing his arrest.

Authorities said Bazzi and Chahine conspired to force or induce an individual in the U.S. to liquidate their interests in some real estate assets in Michigan and covertly transfer hundreds of thousands of dollars in proceeds out of the U.S. to Bazzi and Chahine in Lebanon.

The men were caught on recorded conversations proposing numerous ways to conceal from U.S. law enforcement officials that Bazzi was the source and destination of the proceeds of the sale and that the men were involved, authorities said.

Comments 5
Thumb Geralt 25 February 2023, 16:15

Slain him and send his head to Judge Ghada Aoun, maybe with some Voodoo Jumbo she can take a confession out of his ugly face!

Missing gabriel01 25 February 2023, 19:24

This is good news. The more the merrier

Thumb 25 February 2023, 22:34

There’s no arguing that Mr Bazzi is bad news, but the use of US extraterritorial law can create a dangerous precedent for other countries to follow, leading to a fragmented and unstable global legal system. It is important for the US to respect the sovereignty of other nations and work towards mutually beneficial solutions through international cooperation and diplomacy, rather than relying on extraterritorial laws to achieve its goals which are to impose its policies and degenerate values.

Missing HellAndWaite 26 February 2023, 14:44

You see what is not.
A financial crime in business dealings in any country is in each country's jurisdiction. If the United States is willing and legally can apprehend a criminal and apply judgement, including in cooperation with government authorities in other countries, there is no risk of peril in the global legal system.
Lebanon regularly introduces problems for the global legal system, for example, by refusing to take criminals into custody, not enforcing existing law, treaty and agreements, and by trafficking goods, services, and money beyond its borders illegally.
We need to fix our own house before harshly judging those better serving their citizens in every way.

Thumb 26 February 2023, 16:47

It is imperative to note, H&W, that the subject at hand is none other than the United States of America, an entity which holds the dubious distinction of being the most significant perpetrators of malevolent deeds worldwide. One would be hard-pressed to find any semblance of true justice within the US, as political motivations taint every facet of its legal system, given that judges and sheriffs alike are subject to electioneering. The recent treatment of the citizens of East Palestine, Ohio, serves as a stark reminder of this stark reality. Despite being staunch supporters of the previous administration, their chances of receiving a fair hearing in the eyes of the law appear to be woefully lacking. Regrettably, this case is but one in a litany of examples that one could provide to illustrate this point.