LEBANON: Group suspected of supporting terrorist groups with illegal money transfers arrested

BEIRUT, Lebanon – The Lebanese army announced the arrest of a group of Lebanese and Syrians involved in transferring illegal funds to terrorist groups outside Lebanon. The Lebanese Army statement said that “by following up on a lead in a terrorist financing case, the Intelligence Directorate arrested a longtime Lebanon-based Syrian suspect on charges of making illegal currency exchanges and money transfers to outside Lebanon in favor of terrorists.” The statement further said that based on the confessions of the arrested person about ways to transfer money out of Lebanon, the Intelligence Directorate got sight of a group of Lebanese and Syrians working on ​​illegal money transfers and currency exchanges.

The network physically sent dollars across the border to Idlib and other places in Syria with Islamist extremists but changed its ways after the closing of the borders over the COVID-19 pandemic. The group working under the guise of legal offices and companies then started using an online unlicensed electronic platform of Lebanese money changer Barakat Remittances Company.

After covert investigations, Lebanese Intelligence Directorate forces carried out simultaneous raids in twelve different Lebanese regions after which it managed to arrest thirteen Syrians and three Lebanese. It seized computers, phones and devices used by the group in the money transfers, in addition to large sums of money. Investigations and research are still ongoing.