The extradition from Paraguay to the US of a suspected money launderer of Lebanese origin is expected to result in a case that sheds light on how Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement uses trade-based money laundering (TBML) to fund its activities.

Paraguayan authorities have handed over Nader Mohamed Farhat to US security authorities in Miami, Florida, where he faces criminal charges involving money laundering.

Revelations anticipated
Farhat’s case is expected to reveal information about money laundering and the complexities of trade and illicit financial flows (IFFs) on the  tri-border area at the junction of Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil, including the involvement of Hezbollah.

A federal court in Miami will decide whether Farhat’s trial will be held there or in New York, where similar charges have been made against him.

Farhat allegedly conspired with another Paraguayan national of Lebanese origin, Mahmoud Ali Barakat, and three other defendants to launder proceeds from drugs.

More findings likely
Farhat is a “known money launderer for narcotics organisations and other illicit organisations,” according to court documents.

The case is expected to reveal how drug gangs in Latin America and other organised crime groups continued to exploit complex trade-based schemes. Many of the companies they use in their operations are incorporated and based in the US so the case is also likely to expose the US’ lax beneficial ownership requirements for companies registered there.