Lebanese Canadian Bank has agreed to pay US$102 million to settle a US government civil lawsuit accusing it of laundering hundreds of millions of dollars of illicit funds linked to militant group Hezbollah through American banks.
The settlement would resolve a 2011 lawsuit that accused the bank of using the US banking system to launder drug-trafficking profits through West Africa back to Lebanon.
US prosecutors said in court that the bank transferred at least US$329 million by wire to the US to purchase used cars that were then shipped to West Africa.
Most of the private bank’s assets were acquired by the Lebanese subsidiary of France’s Societe Generale in 2011.
The US justice department said that the US$102 million would come out of US$150 million, which was previously seized by the US government in August 2012. Societe Generale de Banque au Liban would receive the other US$48 million.
Under the settlement, Lebanese Bank would pay another US$12 million to Societe Generale to resolve claims for US$90 million of the seized funds.