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Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah Photo: EPA
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah Photo: EPA
 
 

Hezbollah's Nasrallah worth $250M?

American intelligence officials estimate fortune of Shiite organization's leader, senior members totals some $2 billion, which are scattered in hundreds of bank accounts across the world

Doron Peskin
Published: 12.29.11, 07:47 / Israel Business

Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah is worth some $250 million, a Kuwaiti newspaper reported recently, quoting American intelligence officials.

 

According to the report, the fortune of Nasrallah's deputy, Sheikh Naim Qassem, and other senior organization members amounts to as much as $2 billion.

 

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The anonymous intelligence sources believe the funds have been deposited in hundreds of bank accounts across the world, including in Europe, using fabricated or fake names.

 

Two Western sources are quoted as saying that the Hezbollah leaders from time to time channel millions of dollars from their bank accounts or their wives' bank accounts to senior members of the Revolutionary Guards in Iran, who are responsible for transferring money to the Shiite organization from the office of Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

 

According to the report, Iranian parliament members are aware of this corruption, are unhappy with it but are avoiding discussing it.

 

Straw companies

A British security source who worked at the embassies in Saudi Arabia and Lebanon in the 1990s is quoted as saying that the West has figured out Hezbollah's money laundering method.

 

According to the source, the Shiite organization's common method is setting up straw companies in Arab or African countries, which sell cars or large amounts of goods.

 

The organizations also operate small cells of six to 10 people who specialize in stealing cellular phones, personal computers or credit cards, and open fake bank accounts using the victims' details.

 

According to the report, the Hezbollah members also specialize in stealing passports, which are used by the organization operatives to travel around the world for commerce purposes, among others.

 

By setting up companies, mainly in Eastern European countries and in Soviet republics in central Asia, Hezbollah provides all the financial needs of the organization members in Lebanon.

 

According to a recent report among many on the organization's financial situation, senior Iranian officials are furious over an internal report pointing to corruption among Hezbollah's highest ranks.

 

Another report says the Iranians were "amazed" to learn of the flamboyant life led by the organization members, mainly during their visits abroad.

 

Doron Peskin is head of research at Info-Prod Research (Middle East) Ltd.

 

 

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